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“Myth, Fiction and Truth: Gregory Nazianzen’s Approach to Mythological Material”

Federica Scicolone, Naples and University of Cyprus , Visiting Research Fellow, Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies

Fri, 4/5 · 2:00 pm3:30 pm · 103 Scheide Caldwell

Cosponsored by the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity

Contemporary scholars are fascinated by the interplay of Christian content and pagan literary forms in the writing of fourth-century theologian Gregory of Nazianzus. This intersection emerges from Gregory’s treatment of examples from myth, which are often qualified as πλάσμα (“fabrication”) and μῦθος (“story”), in opposition to ἀλήθεια, denoting historical reality. This workshop explores the mismatch between truth and fiction in a selection of Gregory’s prose and poetic texts that discuss the use of mythic paradigms. By skillfully weaving allegory and myth in some of his epigrams κατὰ τυμβωρύχων (“against tomb violators”) and passages from Orations 4-5, Gregory asserts his place in the classical tradition.

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