In an interesting passage Gregory considers Julian’s Edict on the Professors, which forbade Christians to teach rhetoric. He considers the relationship between words or discourses (logoi) and the Word of God (Logos). Here again in this passage the essential relation between culture and religion is provided, for Gregory, by philanthropy. Here he argues that discourse (human logos), which covers all aspects of societal association, from basic communications to the heights of gracious rhetoric, is the root and foundation of all civilized society. This bonding of mankind by means discourse, gives to the latter its religious quality:

Human speech does not belong to those who invented it,[1] rather is it the possession of all who participate in it, or any other art. The Creative Word, the Demiurge, gave to various people the gift of discovering or instituting a variety of arts, but he sets each one of the arts in the midst of all, for whoever wanted to make use of them, that they should form a common bond of philanthropy, to make our human lot so much better.[2]

John McGuckin, Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography (SVS Press: Crestwood, 2001), 123.

[1]  Answering Julian’s claim that Greek letters belonged, inalienably to the Hellenes, not the Christians.

[2] Orat. 4.106, PG 35.641.


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