The Brill dictionary of Gregory of Nyssa by Lucas F. Mateo Seco, Giulio Maspero

By Lucas F. Mateo Seco, Giulio Maspero

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The power of God can never be directly contemplated, but is only manifested through examples ( ποδε γματα) (Tunc et ipse, GNO III/, ,).

In fact, it reflects the soul which inhabits it, so that it is possible to perceive the interior moral activities from the outward appearance (Op hom ,: Forbes ,– = PG , AB; Eccl : GNO V, ,; : ,). The evolution of the soul towards virtue corresponds to the phases of human life (Cant : GNO VI, ,; cf. R. Drobner, Archaeologia Patristica –). Analogously to the five senses of the body, one can speak of spiritual senses (Cant : GNO VI, ,)— an analogy which, from Origen on, is a typical theologumenon of the Fathers (cf.

Sin, once introduced into humanity through Adam’s transgression, develops the full “series” (akolouthia) of its consequences. This development has two aspects: the consequences of sin themselves, sin’s effects, and the transmission of sin to all human beings. Akolouthia is first of all the order according to which the consequences of original sin originated and have developed (Virg, GNO VIII/, , –). Among these consequences he will strongly underscore the presence of death, and will indicate virginity, in contrast to sin, as a path that does not imply death, a path that permits us to interrupt the continuity of the propagation of sin (Virg, GNO VIII/, –).

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