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Volume 56, Issue 1, June 2016

Roberta Franchi
Pages 57-83
DOI: 10.5840/agstm20165614

La Vita di Macrina e le Omelie sul Cantico dei Cantici di Gregorio di Nissa

This article analyzes the Life of Macrina by comparing it with the mystical experience of the bride in the Commentary on the Song of Songs, both works written by Gregory of Nyssa. In the Life of Macrina, Gregory adopts the same imagery that he uses to portray the bride in the Commentary on the Song of Songs in order to emphasize Macrina’s angelic status and her pure love for God. Although scholars have pointed out the value of virginity in the life of Macrina, another aspect has to be taken into account: her spousal virginity. Since Gregory uses the paradox within theological reflection and a theological context, Macrina's condition as bride of Christ comes to be realized paradoxically through her choice of virginity. Thanks to her spousal virginity, she joins Christ as His bride. Thus, in keeping with the Commentary on the Song of Songs, Macrina is the bride, Christ is the Bridegroom, and the mystical union is reached.