Book Series Lingua Patrum, vol. 2

Pagan and Biblical Exempla in Gregory Nazianzen

A Study in Rhetoric and Hermeneutics

Kristoffel Demoen

  • Pages: 498 p.
  • Size:155 x 245 mm
  • Language(s):Greek, English
  • Publication Year:1996

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-50481-0
  • Hardback
  • Available


"Ces mises au point, comme celles que contient tout le livre, claires et concises, ne sont cependant qu'une introduction à ce qui sera pour longtemps une mine de référence sur la question des exempla chez G. : les trois « inventaires » (p. 329-458), qu'accompagne pour finir la bibliographie de rigueur." (Joseph Wolinski, in Revue des études byzantines, 55, 1997, p. 307)

"Cet ouvrage a parfaitement sa place dans la collection prestigieuse du Corpus Christianorum, non seulement parce qu'il y côtoie l'admirable Corpus Nazianzenum, mais parce qu'il fait progresser de façon décisive la connaissance des oeuvres de Grégoire de Nazianze et de sa manière de composer. (... ...) Un livre majeur, donc, sur l'oeuvre de Grégoire de Nazianze, et un livre exemplaire, pour des enquêtes analogues sur d'autres auteurs." (Alain Le Boulluec, in Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric, 16, 3, 1998, pp. 329, 333)

"Au total, un livre indispensable." (Vincent Déroche, in Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Filologie en Geschiedenis, 77, 4, 1999, p. 1191-1192)

"(...) if your concern is for historical theology done primarily in a penetrating philological mode, this present volume may be your first choice. It is superb. Demoen’s treatment of Gregory’s use of examples from “depaganized Hellenism” as well as the Bible represents one significant way to uncover Nazianzen’s hermeneutic. This book is a thorough inventory and explanation of those examples employed in Gregory’s poetry which thus throws bright light on his approach to pagan culture as well as Christian faith. Correctly Demoen looks at The Theologian through rhetorical categories, the only ones which can do justice to the contribution which this Father of the Church offered." (Frederick W. Norris, in Journal of Early Christian Studies, 7, 2, 1999, p. 300)


The Greek Church Father Gregory Nazianzen (ca.330-390) is famous for being an exponent of the fusion of Hellenism and Christianity. In the Byznatine tradition, he was called the Christian Demosthenes, but he was also provided with the epithet of the Theologian. This book examines the reception of both pagan and biblical traditions in Gregory's oeuvre, more specifically in the exempla (Gr. paradeigmata) that present mythological, historical and biblical characters and events. This reception is placed within the broader framework of the overall interaction between poetics, rhetoric and theology in the developing Christianity of Late Antiquity.