Gregory of Nyssa: On the Human Image of God

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The first modern critical edition of Gregory of Nyssa’s treatise On the Human Image of God (formerly known as On the Making of Man, De hominis opificio) and the first English translation since the nineteenth century. The text and translation are accompanied by an extensive introduction, surveying the philosophical and theological background for Gregory’s work. Besides drawing upon this rich background, it is argued that Gregory creatively adapts the three-fold structure of Timaeus’ speech to construct a Christian version of Plato’s Timaeus. Gregory’s first analysis presents the human being as both the culmination of the ascent made by nature through the various levels of life and as the image of God in living a virtuous life, together with an extended investigation into the interaction of the body and the mind. His second analysis considers why this the human being does not immediately manifest the image of God, the need for time to be able to grow, individually and collectively, to this status, as the body of Christ, and the role of sexuality within this growth. The third part of the work brings both analyses together, to see the same movement in the lifespan of each person. The extensive introduction provided in this volume examines the philosophical and theological background of Gregory’s text, beginning with Anaxagoras, Plato (the Timaeus), Philo, and Origen, and also compares aspects of Gregory’s work with that of Irenaeus of Lyons and Maximos the Confessor.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
Number of pages384
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-284397-5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2023

Publication series

NameOxford Early Christian Texts
PublisherOxford University Press


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