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Gregory of Nyssa and mysticism

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Chapter Summary

Gregory of Nyssa is sometimes called the first Christian mystic and his mysticism is said to derive largely from Plotinus. Gregory read Plotinus, he was a thinker and able to reproduce or produce himself philosophical trains of thought. Gregory was the thinker, Basilius was the prince of the Church and Gregory of Nazianzus the pioneer of Christian eloquence. Gregory of Nyssa had his dark side. He was in touch with heretics and also drew on them. These heretics were Messalians, or Euchites, those who pray. They were repeatedly condemned, first at the Synod of Side, later at the ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431, and at other councils. These Messalians taught that the Holy Ghost may be experienced, that God can be viewed with physical eyes, that is that God is concrete and not abstract, and that man remains sinful even after baptism.

Keywords: Basilius; Gregory of Nazianzus; Gregory of Nyssa; Messalians; mysticism; Plotinus



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