Augustinianum

Volume 63, Issue 2, December 2023

Nikolay Antonov
Pages 459-478

Ancient political vocabulary in biblical contexts
The image of the priest in Gregory of Nazianzus’ Or. 2 (Apologia de fuga sua)

This article examines how Gregory of Nazianzus (Gregory the Theologian, ca. 330-390) constructs an image of the priest using political metaphor and vocabulary from previous traditions. The author chooses a specific text from ancient political thought that was close to his own understanding of Christian tradition (Plato’s Republic). In turn, the biblical material he uses comprises fragments that are highly political in nature (for example, criticism of the rulers of Israel by the prophets). Combining these texts first of all leads to their transformation, and secondly allows him to piece together an image of the priest as ruler of the Church. The combination of these two traditions makes it possible to describe both the historical and contemporary legitimization of this image – one novel for Late Antiquity – and to define the main characteristics of its ethos.