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Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Graduate Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology

Department

School of Theology • Seminary

First Advisor

Columba Stewart, OSB

Abstract

By tracing the biblical events in the life of Moses and interpreting these events in the light of Christ's saving mission, particularly emphasizing the three great theophanies on Sinai, Gregory establishes a paradigm of the spiritual journey of a Christian as being in the state of perfection. Gregory builds on an understanding of perfection that is characteristically exemplified in the very disposition of Moses as a type of Christ in whom virtue is defined. The idea of virtue, therefore, in the mind of Gregory, hinges on Christ, the exemplar of virtue in whom is found all perfection.

This paper aims to search out the meaning of perfection as characterized by and expressed in the life of virtue, as presented in Gregory of Nyssa's ascetical study of the Life ofMoses. In examining perfection in the light of virtuous living, a brief inquiry into the philosophical concept of God and the emphases on Christ, God incarnate, and the saving cross on which Gregory bases his presentation of the Life of Mosesis established. Such an inquiry supports the foundations of Gregory's unique conception of perfection as virtue, thereby expanding one's understanding and appreciation of the Christian life which is a call to perfection.

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