Gregory of Nyssa: Dogmatic Treatises, Etc

Title Page

Editor's Preface.

select writings and letters


Works on Analytical Criticism, History, and Bibliography, Consulted.

Dates of Treatises, &c., Here Translated.

The Life and Writings of Gregory of Nyssa.

Chapter I.--A Sketch of the Life of S. Gregory of Nyssa.

Chapter II.--His General Character as a Theologian.

Chapter III.--His Origenism.

Chapter IV.--His Teaching on the Holy Trinity.

Chapter V.--Mss. And Editions.

Gregory of Nyssa Against Eunomius.

Letter I.

Letter II.

Book I.

Section 1. Preface.--It is useless to attempt to benefit those who will not

Section 2. We have been justly provoked to make this Answer, being stung by Eunomius' accusations of our brother.

Section 3. We see nothing remarkable in logical force in the treatise of Eunomius, and so embark on our Answer with a just confidence.

Section 4. Eunomius displays much folly and fine writing, but very little seriousness about vital points.

Section 5. His peculiar caricature of the bishops, Eustathius of Armenia and Basil of Galatia, is not well drawn.

Section 6. A notice of Aetius, Eunomius' master in heresy, and of Eunomius himself, describing the origin and avocations of each.

Section 7. Eunomius himself proves that the confession of faith which He made was not impeached.

Section 8. Facts show that the terms of abuse which he has employed against Basil are more suitable for himself.

Section 9. In charging Basil with not defending his faith at the time of the Trials,' he lays himself open to the same charge.

Section 10. All his insulting epithets are shewn by facts to be false.

Section 11. The sophistry which he employs to prove our acknowledgment that he had been tried, and that the confession of his faith had not been unimpeached, is feeble.

Section 12. His charge of cowardice is baseless: for Basil displayed the highest courage before the Emperor and his Lord-Lieutenants.

Section 13. Résumé of his dogmatic teaching. Objections to it in detail.

Section 14. He did wrong, when mentioning the Doctrines of Salvation, in adopting terms of his own choosing instead of the traditional terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Section 15. He does wrong in making the being of the Father alone proper and supreme, implying by his omission of the Son and the Spirit that theirs is improperly spoken of, and is inferior.

Section 16. Examination of the meaning of subjection:' in that he says that the nature of the Holy Spirit is subject to that of the Father and the Son. It is shewn that the Holy Spirit is of an equal, not inferior, rank to the Father and the Son.

Section 17. Discussion as to the exact nature of the energies' which, this man declares, follow' the being of the Father and of the Son.

Section 18. He has no reason for distinguishing a plurality of beings in the Trinity. He offers no demonstration that it is so.

Section 19. His acknowledgment that the Divine Being is single' is only verbal.

Section 20. He does wrong in assuming, to account for the existence of the Only-Begotten, an energy' that produced Christ's Person.

Section 21. The blasphemy of these heretics is worse than the Jewish unbelief.

Section 22. He has no right to assert a greater and less in the Divine being. A systematic statement of the teaching of the Church.

Section 23. These doctrines of our Faith witnessed to and confirmed by Scripture passages.

Section 24. His elaborate account of degrees and differences in works' and energies' within the Trinity is absurd.

Section 25. He who asserts that the Father is prior' to the Son with any thought of an interval must perforce allow that even the Father is not without beginning.

Section 26. It will not do to apply this conception, as drawn out above, of the Father and Son to the Creation, as they insist on doing: but we must contemplate the Son apart with the Father, and believe that the Creation had its origin from a definite point.

Section 27. He falsely imagines that the same energies produce the same works, and that variation in the works indicates variation in the energies.

Section 28. He falsely imagines that we can have an unalterable series of harmonious natures existing side by side.

Section 29. He vainly thinks that the doubt about the energies is to be solved by the beings, and reversely.

Section 30. There is no Word of God that commands such investigations: the uselessness of the philosophy which makes them is thereby proved.

Section 31. The observations made by watching Providence are sufficient to give us the knowledge of sameness of Being.

Section 32. His dictum that the manner of the likeness must follow the manner of the generation' is unintelligible.

Section 33. He declares falsely that the manner of the generation is to be known from the intrinsic worth of the generator'.

Section 34. The Passage where he attacks the Omoousion, and the contention in answer to it.

Section 35. Proof that the Anomoean teaching tends to Manichæism.

Section 36. A passing repetition of the teaching of the Church.

Section 37. Defence of S. Basil's statement, attacked by Eunomius, that the terms Father' and The Ungenerate' can have the same meaning.

Section 38. Several ways of controverting his quibbling syllogisms.

Section 39. Answer to the question he is always asking, "Can He who is be begotten?"

Section 40. His unsuccessful attempt to be consistent with his own statements after Basil has confuted him.

Section 41. The thing that follows is not the same as the thing that it follows.

Section 42. Explanation of Ungenerate,' and a study' of Eternity.

Book II.

Section 1. The second book declares the Incarnation of God the Word, and the

Section 2. Gregory then makes an explanation at length touching the eternal Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Section 3. Gregory proceeds to discuss the relative force of the unnameable name of the Holy Trinity and the mutual relation of the Persons, and moreover the unknowable character of the essence, and the condescension on His part towards us, His generation of the Virgin, and His second coming, the resurrection from the dead and future retribution.

Section 4. He next skilfully confutes the partial, empty and blasphemous statement of Eunomius on the subject of the absolutely existent.

Section 5. He next marvellously overthrows the unintelligible statements of Eunomius which assert that the essence of the Father is not separated or divided, and does not become anything else.

Section 6. He then shows the unity of the Son with the Father and Eunomius' lack of understanding and knowledge in the Scriptures.

Section 7. Gregory further shows that the Only-Begotten being begotten not only of the Father, but also impassibly of the Virgin by the Holy Ghost, does not divide the substance; seeing that neither is the nature of men divided or severed from the parents by being begotten, as is ingeniously demonstrated from the instances of Adam and Abraham.

Section 8. He further very appositely expounds the meaning of the term "Only-Begotten," and of the term "First born," four times used by the Apostle.

Section 9. Gregory again discusses the generation of the Only-Begotten, and other different modes of generation, material and immaterial, and nobly demonstrates that the Son is the brightness of the Divine glory, and not a creature.

Section 10. He explains the phrase "The Lord created Me," and the argument about the origination of the Son, the deceptive character of Eunomius' reasoning, and the passage which says, "My glory will I not give to another," examining them from different points of view.

Section 11. After expounding the high estate of the Almighty, the Eternity of the Son, and the phrase "being made obedient," he shows the folly of Eunomius in his assertion that the Son did not acquire His sonship by obedience.

Section 12. He thus proceeds to a magnificent discourse of the interpretation of "Mediator," "Like," "Ungenerate," and "generate," and of "The likeness and seal of the energy of the Almighty and of His Works."

Section 13. He expounds the passage of the Gospel, "The Father judgeth no man," and further speaks of the assumption of man with body and soul wrought by the Lord, of the transgression of Adam, and of death and the resurrection of the dead.

Section 14. He proceeds to discuss the views held by Eunomius

Section 15. Lastly he displays at length the folly of Eunomius, who at times speaks of the Holy Spirit as created, and as the fairest work of the Son, and at other times confesses, by the operations attributed to Him, that He is God, and thus ends the book.

Book III.

Section 1. This third book shows a third fall of Eunomius, as refuting

Section 2. He then once more excellently, appropriately, and clearly examines and expounds the passage, "The Lord Created Me."

Section 3. He then shows, from the instance of Adam and Abel, and other examples, the absence of alienation of essence in the case of the "generate" and "ungenerate."

Section 4. He thus shows the oneness of the Eternal Son with the Father the identity of essence and the community of nature (wherein is a natural inquiry into the production of wine), and that the terms "Son" and "product" in the naming of the Only-Begotten include a like idea of relationship.

Section 5. He discusses the incomprehensibility of the Divine essence, and the saying to the woman of Samaria, "Ye worship ye know not what."

Section 6. Thereafter he expounds the appellation of "Son," and of "product of generation," and very many varieties of "sons," of God, of men, of rams, of perdition, of light, and of day.

Section 7. Then he ends the book with an exposition of the Divine and Human names of the Only-Begotten, and a discussion of the terms "generate" and "ungenerate."

Book IV.

Section 1. The fourth book discusses the account of the nature of the "product

Section 2. He convicts Eunomius of having used of the Only-begotten terms applicable to the existence of the earth, and thus shows that his intention is to prove the Son to be a being mutable and created.

Section 3. He then again admirably discusses the term prototokos as it is four times employed by the Apostle.

Section 4. He proceeds again to discuss the impassibility of the Lord's generation; and the folly of Eunomius, who says that the generated essence involves the appellation of Son, and again, forgetting this, denies the relation of the Son to the Father: and herein he speaks of Circe and of the mandrake poison.

Section 5. He again shows Eunomius, constrained by truth, in the character of an advocate of the orthodox doctrine, confessing as most proper and primary, not only the essence of the Father, but the essence also of the Only-begotten.

Section 6. He then exposes argument about the "Generate," and the "product of making," and "product of creation," and shows the impious nature of the language of Eunomius and Theognostus on the "immediate" and "undivided" character of the essence, and its "relation to its creator and maker."

Section 7. He then clearly and skilfully criticises the doctrine of the impossibility of comparison with the things made after the Son, and exposes the idolatry contrived by Eunomius, and concealed by the terminology of "Son" and "Only-begotten," to deceive his readers.

Section 8. He proceeds to show that there is no "variance" in the essence of the Father and the Son: wherein he expounds many forms of variation and harmony, and explains the "form," the "seal," and the "express image."

Section 9. Then, distinguishing between essence and generation, he declares the empty and frivolous language of Eunomius to be like a rattle. He proceeds to show that the language used by the great Basil on the subject of the generation of the Only-begotten has been grievously slandered by Eunomius, and so ends the book.

Book V.

Section 1. The fifth book promises to speak of the words contained in the

Section 2. He then explains the phrase of S. Peter, "Him God made Lord and Christ." And herein he sets forth the opposing statement of Eunomius, which he made on account of such phrase against S. Basil, and his lurking revilings and insults.

Section 3. A remarkable and original reply to these utterances

Section 4. He shows the falsehood of Eunomius' calumnious charge that the great Basil had said that "man was emptied to become man," and demonstrates that the "emptying" of the Only-begotten took place with a view to the restoration to life of the Man Who had suffered .

Section 5. Thereafter he shows that there are not two Christs or two Lords

Book VI.

Section 1. The sixth book shows that He Who came for man's salvation was not a

Section 2. Then he again mentions S. Peter's word

Section 3. He then gives a notable explanation of the saying of the Lord to Philip

Section 4. Then returning to the words of Peter, "God made Him Lord and Christ," he skilfully explains it by many arguments, and herein shows Eunomius as an advocate of the orthodox doctrine, and concludes the book by showing that the Divine and Human names are applied, by reason of the commixture, to either Nature.

Book VII.

Section 1. The seventh book shows from various statements made to the

Section 2. He then declares that the close relation between names and things is immutable, and thereafter proceeds accordingly, in the most excellent manner, with his discourse concerning "generated" and "ungenerate."

Section 3. Thereafter he discusses the divergence of names and of things

Section 4. He says that all things that are in creation have been named by man

Section 5. After much discourse concerning the actually existent, and ungenerate and good, and upon the consubstantiality of the heavenly powers, showing the uncharted character of their essence, yet the difference of their ranks, he ends the book.

Book VIII.

Section 1. The eighth book very notably overthrows the blasphemy of the

Section 2. He then discusses the "willing" of the Father concerning the generation of the Son, and shows that the object of that good will is from eternity, which is the Son, existing in the Father, and being closely related to the process of willing, as the ray to the flame, or the act of seeing to the eye.

Section 3. Then

Section 4. He further shows the operations of God to be expressed by human illustrations; for what hands and feet and the other parts of the body with which men work are

Section 5. Then

Book IX.

Section 1. The ninth book declares that Eunomius' account of the Nature of God

Section 2. He then ingeniously shows that the generation of the Son is not according to the phrase of Eunomius

Section 3. He further shows that the pretemporal generation of the Son is not the subject of influences drawn from ordinary and carnal generation

Section 4. Then, having shown that Eunomius' calumny against the great Basil, that he called the Only-begotten "Ungenerate," is false, and having again with much ingenuity discussed the eternity, being, and endlessness of the Only-begotten, and the creation of light and of darkness, he concludes the book.

Book X.

Section 1. The tenth book discusses the unattainable and incomprehensible

Section 2. He then wonderfully displays the Eternal Life, which is Christ, to those who confess Him not, and applies to them the mournful lamentation of Jeremiah over Jehoiakim, as being closely allied to Montanus and Sabellius.

Section 3. He then shows the eternity of the Son's generation, and the inseparable identity of His essence with Him that begat Him, and likens the folly of Eunomius to children playing with sand.

Section 4. After this he shows that the Son

Book XI.

Section 1. The eleventh book shows that the title of "Good" is due, not to the

Section 2. He also ingeniously shows from the passage of the Gospel which speaks of "Good Master

Section 3. He then exposes the ignorance of Eunomius

Section 4. After this

Section 5. Eunomius again speaks of the Son as Lord and God

Book XII.

Section 1. This twelfth book gives a notable interpretation of the words of

Section 2. Then referring to the blasphemy of Eunomius

Section 3. He further proceeds notably to interpret the language of the Gospel

Section 4. He then again charges Eunomius with having learnt his term agennesiafrom the hieroglyphic writings

Section 5. Then, again discussing the true Light and unapproachable Light of the Father and of the Son, special attributes, community and essence, and showing the relation of "generate" and "ungenerate," as involving no opposition in sense , but presenting an opposition and contradiction admitting of no middle term, he ends the book.

Introduction to 'Epinoia

Answer to Eunomius' Second Book .

On the Holy Spirit.

On the Holy Trinity, and of the Godhead of the Holy Spirit.

On "Not Three Gods."

On the Faith.

II.--Ascetic and Moral.


On Virginity. Introduction.

Chapter I. The holy look of virginity is precious indeed in the judgment of all who make…

Chapter II. Deep indeed will be the thought necessary to understand the surpassing excellence of this grace.…

Chapter III. Would indeed that some profit might come to myself from this effort!…

Chapter IV. But we need no longer show in this narrow way the drawback of this life…

Chapter V. Now we declare that Virginity is man's "fellow-worker" and helper in achieving the aim of…

Chapter VI. This, I believe, makes the greatness of the prophet Elias…

Chapter VII. An illustration will make our teaching on this subject clearer.…

Chapter VIII. Let no one think however that herein we depreciate marriage as an institution.…

Chapter IX. Custom is indeed in everything hard to resist.…

Chapter X. What words indeed could possibly express the greatness of that loss in falling away from…

Chapter XI. Now those who take a superficial and unreflecting view of things observe the outward appearance…

Chapter XII. This reasoning and intelligent creature, man, at once the work and the likeness of the…

Chapter XIII. But seeing that Paradise is the home of living spirits…

Chapter XIV. But if we apprehend at last the perfection of this grace…

Chapter XV. But the ways in our life which turn aside towards sin are innumerable…

Chapter XVI. There is only one right path.…

Chapter XVII. Let that which was then said by our Lord be the general maxim for every…

Chapter XVIII. If any one supposes that this want of mutual harmony between his life and a…

Chapter XIX. But besides other things the action of Miriam the prophetess also gives rise to these…

Chapter XX. Now it is impossible, as far as manual exercise goes…

Chapter XXI. It is perfectly clear that no one can come near the purity of the Divine…

Chapter XXII. We see how the husbandmen have a method for separating the chaff…

Chapter XXIII. Now the details of the life of him who has chosen to live in such…

Chapter XXIV. It would therefore be to their profit, for the young to refrain from laying down…

On Infants' Early Deaths.

On Pilgrimages.

III.--Philosophical Works.

Note on the Treatise "On the Making of Man."

On the Making of Man.

I. Wherein is a partial inquiry into the nature of the world, and a more minute exposition of the things which preceded the genesis of man

II. Why man appeared last, after the creation

III. That the nature of man is more precious than all the visible creation

IV. That the construction of man throughout signifies his ruling power .

V. That man is a likeness of the Divine sovereignty .

VI. An examination of the kindred of mind to nature: wherein, by way of digression, is refuted the doctrine of the Anomoeans .

VII. Why man is destitute of natural weapons and covering

VIII. Why man's form is upright; and that hands were given him because of reason; wherein also is a speculation on the difference of souls .

IX. That the form of man was framed to serve as an instrument for the use of reason .

X. That the mind works by means of the senses.

XI. That the nature of mind is invisible.

XII. An examination of the question where the ruling principle is to be considered to reside; wherein also is a discussion of tears and laughter, and a physiological speculation as to the inter-relation of matter, nature, and mind.

XIII. A Rati

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