speech acts, Gregory of Nazianzus, oaths, early Christianity, autobiography, religious studies, bishops, late antiquity
Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Christianity | Classical Literature and Philology | Religion
Gregory of Nazianzus’s Poemata de seipso as a group are labeled “autobiography” erroneously. 2.1.2 provides a strong case study: it is formally structured as an oath, to be sworn by a bishop but with no definitive identification of speaker. As an oath it is well suited to the application of speech act theory, which allows for interpretations with Gregory and/or any orthodox bishop as speaker. When further considered in light of other oaths as compositional models—professional (e.g. Hippocratic), magisterial, imperial loyalty, biblical— the poem’s scope expands beyond the “autobiographer” to encompass the episcopate and fourth-century culture more broadly.
Abrams Rebillard, Suzanne, "The Speech Act of Swearing: Gregory of Nazianzus’s Oath in Poema 2.1.2 in Context" (2013). School of Information Studies: Post-doc and Student Scholarship. 3.
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