Approaching An Apology for the Hexaemeron: Its aims, methods and discourse

  1. Lemma
  2. Approaching An Apology for the Hexaemeron: Its aims, methods and discourse
  3. English
  4. Tampakis, Kostas
  5. Cosmology- Anthropic principle - Patristic studies
  6. 2012
  7. Approaching An Apology for the Hexaemeron: Its aims, methods and discourse
  8. Phronema
  9. Saint Basil the Great - Homilies on the Hexaemeron - St Gregory of Nyssa - An Apology for the Hexaemeron
  10. Click Here
    1. This article is the first draft of the 2013 ‘Approaching An Apology for the Hexaemeron: Its Aims, Method and Discourse’ book chapter that appeared in Costache, D., Kariatlis, Ph. (eds), Cappadocian Legacy: A critical appraisal, Sydney: St. Andrew ‘s Orthodox Press . It explores a largely ignored treatise of St Gregory of Nyssa, entitled An Apology for the Hexaemeron. After introducing the context and the main features of the Apology, the article discusses the Nyssen’s approach to the creation narrative in Genesis 1 and to the natural sciences of the time, without offering a detailed analysis of the cosmography. It also examines the rapports between his method and the one employed by St. Basil the Great in the Homilies on the Hexaemeron. This comparison aims to partially challenge the prevailing view that the Apology is considered primarily a defense and development of the Basilian homilies, based mainly on the discontinuities between the two works, and St Gregory’s personal agenda. The paper contents that in writing the Apology, St Gregory was less interested in securing his brother’s legacy and more to assert his own scholarly standing. Methodologically speaking, the paper wants to show that St Basil’s more rigorously exegetical approach, an approach doubled by his intention to inspire an ethical conduct and a doxological attitude, finds only weak echoes in the scientifically oriented method of the work in an Apology and its educated readership. The ultimate purpose of this article is to determine the nature of the Nyssen’s Apology, usually considered an exegetical work when it should be classified as an apologetic tract that contains only infrequently exegetical incursions. It has features that pertain to the genre of early Christian apologetics, concerned with bridging theology and culture, and with presenting theology as a worthwhile contributor in matters of worldview. Accordingly, whilst engaging the various ancient cosmologies, St Gregory’s work aims to prove the divine making of the universe through the contemplation of its underlying order. The article concludes by highlighting the contribution of the treatise in the areas of tradition and the efforts of articulating the Christian worldview within various cultural and scientific paradigms.