The Rhetoric of Landscape in Gregory of Nyssa’s Homilies On The Song of Songs: Logos, beauty and the “middle style”
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Currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by Brill. 24- month embargo to be applied on publication
In this paper I want to take you on a walk through a garden. It is, to be sure, an imaginary garden; nevertheless, it bears a significance which extends beyond itself. Some of this significance concerns words and texts: for as we shall see, the garden is, amongst other things, a ‘garden of rhetoric’.2 The garden in question appears in the Gregory of Nyssa’s Homilies on the Song of Songs. These Homilies are of course very well-known and equally well-studied: Gregory embarks on an exegesis of the Septuagint Greek text of the Song using a form of allegorical exegesis which is influenced by Origen of Alexandria’s exegesis of the Song and which Gregory defends at some length in his Preface to his own Homilies. 3 For obvious reasons, Gregory’s Homilies have mostly been studied from the perspective of his doctrine of the soul’s ascent to God, his apophatic theology and his biblical hermeneutics. I do not propose to go over that literature. Here, instead of pressing ahead to the spiritual interpretation, I would like us to pause and wander through the landscape and garden which is described vividly by the Song, but even more lavishly by Gregory of Nyssa himself in Cant V (GNO VI 145,14 – 147,5; tr. Norris, 159). [...]
This is the author accepted manuscript.
In: Gregory of Nyssa’s Homilies on the Song of Songs, edited by G Maspero