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15. Gregory the Great in the Byzantine Tradition

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Chapter Summary

Pope Gregory the Great seems in many ways to have been open to the Greek East. The Byzantine Greeks, probably from an inherited sense of cultural superiority, displayed very little interest in the Latins. Paul's Synagôgê, or Evergetinon, was a very popular book in the Byzantine world, to judge from the number of manuscripts that survive. The Synagôgê is, then, a florilegium, a popular genre in Byzantine theological literature. Gregory's affinity with the spirituality of the Byzantine world made him welcome there. His Dialogi became popular in Byzantium, first of all, because they fitted so well with the genre of "tales profitable for the soul", already popular in Byzantine ascetic literature. To judge from Paul Evergetinus' use of Gregory in the Synagôgê, the Byzantine reception of Gregory was selective, and perhaps tended to present him as more of a Byzantine than he really was.

Keywords: Byzantine tradition; Greek East; Gregory's Dialogi; Paul Evergetinus; Synagôgê



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