The Life of Moses

The Life of Moses

Gregory of Nyssa Everett Ferguson Abraham J. Malherbe / Feb 17, 2020

The Life of Moses St Gregory of Nyssa This great spiritual master of the fourth century was born as the general persecution of Christians was ending One of the Greek Cappadocian Fathers the other two were Gregory s bro

  • Title: The Life of Moses
  • Author: Gregory of Nyssa Everett Ferguson Abraham J. Malherbe
  • ISBN: 9780809121120
  • Page: 418
  • Format: Paperback
  • St Gregory of Nyssa This great spiritual master of the fourth century was born as the general persecution of Christians was ending One of the Greek Cappadocian Fathers the other two were Gregory s brother, St Basil the Great, and their mutual friend, St Gregory Nazianzen , Gregory has come to be regarded increasingly as the most brilliant and subtle thinker and most pSt Gregory of Nyssa This great spiritual master of the fourth century was born as the general persecution of Christians was ending One of the Greek Cappadocian Fathers the other two were Gregory s brother, St Basil the Great, and their mutual friend, St Gregory Nazianzen , Gregory has come to be regarded increasingly as the most brilliant and subtle thinker and most profound mystical teacher of the three Whether or not one agrees with Jean Danielou who saw Gregory as the founder of mystical importance within the Christian tradition.The Life of Moses has special significance because it reflects Gregory s spiritual sense of the Scriptures He maintained that the ultimate purpose of the Bible was not its historical teachings but its capacity for elevating the soul to God Gregory saw the totality of the spiritual life as an epektasis, a continual growth or straining ahead, as in the words of St Paul, Forgetting the past, I strain for what is still to come Gregory frames an immensely significant synthesis of the earlier Hellenistic and Jewish traditions in this work He describes the spiritual ascent as taking place in three stages, symbolized by the Lord s revelation of Himself to Moses, first in light, then in the cloud and, finally, in the dark This translation and introduction, winner of the Christian Research Foundation Award, has been expertly rendered by Professors Abraham Malherbe of Yale University and Everett Ferguson of Abilene Christian University.

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    About "Gregory of Nyssa Everett Ferguson Abraham J. Malherbe"

      • Gregory of Nyssa Everett Ferguson Abraham J. Malherbe

        Gregory of Nyssa was a Christian bishop and saint He was a younger brother of Basil the Great and a good friend of Gregory Nazianzus His significance has long been recognized in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholic branches of Christianity.Gregory along with his brother Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nazianzus are known as the Cappadocian Fathers They attempted to establish Christian philosophy as superior to Greek philosophy.


    1. This was not as "wild" as I expected it to be. We certainly won't accept every observation and application, but I think Gregory still works as a helpful commentator on Exodus and as a good pastoral/devotional guide. Reading this will also remind you that the early church fathers were as "Puritanical" as any version of Christianity that has ever existed. Reading Gregory will humble and challenge you on a personal spiritual level.

    2. Gregory of Nyssa was one of the Cappadocian Fathers, three Christian thinkers whose work was tremendous in the solidification of orthodoxy int he late 300s. But they did not just write heady theological tomes, they also wrote profound works on spiritual life. One of the best is the Life of Moses by Gregory.If you want a great example of allegorical interpretation then you have to read this book. Nearly every event in Moses’ life is shown to point to something deeper and more profound. For earl [...]

    3. A magnificent work of spiritual theology, by the person considered by many to be one of the finest theologians in the history of the Church. Written in the late fourth century, "The Life of Moses" takes a close look at the bare biblical record (the historia) of Moses' life and ministry; and then attempts to draw from that record the spiritual meaning (theoria) of the words and events. For Gregory, the life of Moses was a type, or example, of the life of virtue which, for followers of Jesus is th [...]

    4. Although I have seen it referenced in many, many other books, I have never, until recently read St Gregory of Nyssa's The Life of Moses. The work is perhaps best known by some for the reference in Book II.82 where St Gregory speaks of the "final restoration" (Greek: apokatastasis) "which is expected to take place later in the kingdom of heaven of those who have suffered condemnation in Gehenna." This teaching was anathematized (condemned) by the local Council of Constantinople in 453, which anat [...]

    5. A surprisingly quick read for patristic literature. Along with Melito of Sardis' Paschal Homily, this is one of the more approachable introductions to patristic "allegorical" readings of scripture. Nyssa situates the prophet Moses as an exemplar servant of God: ascetic, educated, and mystic (especially in his ascent of the mountain into the dark cloud of God's presence). For me, the most interesting passages were Nyssa's spiritualizing interpretations of problematic ethical episodes like the kil [...]

    6. An outstanding writer. This is how exegesis should take place. History is the manifestation of eternal truths and literal miracles are emenations of Archetypal Realities. Mose's life becomes more visibly profound when seen through the eyes of a great saint such as Gregory of Nyssa. As Ibn Arabi saw the culmination of all the biblical prophets as being archtypes which culminated in Muhammed, so can we see Moses as a not merely a pre-figuration, but a Personality transcendent of person, a figure t [...]

    7. Moses as the paradigm for a virtuous Christian. This book made me want to write "The Life of Miriam" or "The Life of Mary Magdalene." Not as much material, unfortunately, but more than enough scope for the imagination.

    8. Sometimes found myself thinking, "wow, he's really on to something" and at other times I thought, "huh, I think he's on something." In the places where his spiritual reading of the text was based on edited-down versions of the historical narrative (such as editing out Moses' own sins and foibles, like failing to hallow YHWH's name and striking the rock) I found his reading a stretch, but I must say this was not frequent or as far out as I expected. The purpose of the work helps to guide toward a [...]

    9. This is my first foray into Alexandrian theologians, and I read this book on the recommendation of an Eastern Orthodox friend.Gregory of Nyssa was an Alexandrian, emphasizing the allegorical approach to Biblical interpretation. This approach was a popular approach in his day, and probably a necessary one. After all, the Alexandrians were trying to reach the learned Greeks and philosophers of their day with the gospel of Jesus Christ. If Paul can rejoice in Christ's being preached even when it wa [...]

    10. "Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about." (Chesterton)Reading the fathers is always an exercise in humility and in learning wisdom. We can (and should) disagree with them where we must, but if we allowed them to teach us, we would avoid much evil.

    11. A must read for meaning in Christian symbolism. It certainly helps with understanding the Biblical stories with these symbolism in mind.

    12. This St. Gregory was one of the first Christian mystics, and parts of this little book point in that direction. "As the mind progresses and comes to apprehend reality, leaving behind not only what sense comprehends but also what the intelligence thinks it sees, it keeps on penetrating deeper until by the intelligence's yearning for understanding it gains access to the invisible and the incomprehensible, and there it sees God" (80). Also, as a true believer (Bishop of Nyssa - pre-modern Turkey), [...]

    13. This is a crash-course in Patristic allegory. We might wince at some of his connections, but Nyssa never rejects the literal meaning. “No good has a limit in its own nature, but is limited by the presence of its opposite” (Nyssa 5).Within God there is no opposite. So far so good. But is God limited by what is not God? I don’t think that is what Gregory means, since farther down the page he says “This good [God] has no limit--the participant’s desire itself necessarily has no stopping p [...]

    14. This work was an attempt to correlate the life of Moses with the spiritual life of all believers. To put it in Western theological parlance: St. Gregory's "The Life of Moses" is illustrating a typology of the spiritual life, in a similar way that Jesus used illustrations from the life of Moses, and other Old Testament figures, as typologies of Himself (i.e. John 3:14; 6:32-51; Matt. 12:40-42). Therefore, it must be understood that St. Gregory's "Life of Moses" is sketching a map of the spiritual [...]

    15. On the whole, an inspiring read with a great deal of practical and theoretical aid to contemplative prayer and worship of God. St. Gregory's bias toward Greek philosophy turns sour at maybe two or three points, particularly in his rigid hierarchical view of the cosmos which, among other unhelpful things, is hardly charitable towards women and laypeople. His ecclesiastical hierarchy insofar as it defends the necessity of the episcopacy was great, but insofar as his concept of the priesthood exclu [...]

    16. This book is an incredible book, although small in size, it does perfectly what I have told every person to do when reading The Bible and that is to see the Spiritual Reality underscoring the literal historical words written. Often people say, "How can a Loving God allow X to happen?" Of course one would be at a lost to explain this if one was limited to a Historical-Literal Interpretation of Scripture, however such is not the case when one reads the more difficult texts with a Spiritual percept [...]

    17. St. Gregory of Nyssa (ca. 332 - 395) was one of the Cappadocian Fathers in the Church's early centuries. Cappadocia was a region located in the southeast of modern Turkey. In this little volume, Gregory sets out the spiritual, mystical, often allegorical, interpretation of Moses and the events of his life, how they are types and foreshadowings of Christ and the Christian life. A key document in the development of the spirituality of the Eastern Orthodox churches, it can be read profitably by Chr [...]

    18. I'm tempted to give this one two stars because it is a classic, but I'd be lying. It didn't work for me- I couldn't get over the allegorical reading of Moses' life. That and it really bothered me that Gregory conveniently overlooked everything Moses ever did that was remotely wrong. I know that's what they did in ancient biography as a genre and all, but that's one of the most profound aspects of the Old Testament to me: its heroes are flawed human beings just like the rest of us.

    19. A good read to see how a Patristic writer makes use of the scriptures. It says something about how we Orthodox ought to approach scripture today, but the book is probably more important for giving us a look at ancient method then giving us a read of scripture that helps us live the scriptures today.

    20. This is a wonderful translation of a book that is rewarding both intellectually and spiritually. You will both understand how the Church Fathers read scripture and be encouraged to deepen your relationship with God.

    21. Gregory summarizes the life of Moses, then spiritualizes the life of Moses to instruct the reader on what the perfect life looks like. Gregory's interpretations are jarring at times, but there's much to be learned from this father of the early church.

    22. I enjoyed parts of this book. Most profound is his belief that we will never attain perfect or at least be fully like G-d. How could the created ever fully attained the status of the Uncreated.

    23. Brilliant exercise in spiritual allegory, as Gregory of Nyssa reads the life of Moses as a typological archetype for the virtuous life.

    24. I'm not sure how well this translation was done. Regardless, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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