Suzanne Abrams RebillardFollow

Document Type





Gregory of Nazianzus, Historiography, Narratology, Christianity, Theology, Patristics, Late Antiquity, Herodotus, Thucydides




Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Classical Literature and Philology | History of Christianity | History of Religion | Intellectual History


This article locates Gregory of Nazianzus's Poemata de seipso in the Classical historiographical tradition by comparing their historical meta-narrative to Herodotus' and Thucydides'. It then embarks on a case study of Poem 34, On Silence During Lent, closely analyzing the poem in light of recent narratological work on Herodotus' project. Like the Herodotean text, Gregory's piece reveals a variety of hermeneutical possibilities while simultaneously making the audience aware of the histor's compositional processes. The histor who emerges is a salvific and cosmological presence that focalizes the divine, thereby serving as an example of proper human/ divine relations. The poem would transform its audiences into focalizers of the divine in their lives by similar analytical and compositional processes as those of the histor who focalizes the divine in his text. This pedagogy is for Gregory the devotional responsibility of a priest.

Additional Information

The article is a contribution to a festschfit for Frederick Norris, edited by Christopher Beeley: Re-reading Gregory of Nazianzus (Washington, DC: Catholic University Press 2012), 125-42.

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