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From Light to Darkness: The Progress of the Spiritual Journey according to Gregory of Nyssa’s De vita Moysis

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Chapter Summary

In his De Vita Moysis (VM) Gregory of Nyssa describes the spiritual journey of the soul towards God. This chapter shows that the stage of mystical union between man and God on this spiritual journey can be found in VM without altering the sequence of its narration. Such a reading substitutes the three-fold schema proposed by Jean Daniélou, Andrew Louth, and Warren Smith with a two-fold division of the spiritual journey in VM: the preliminary stage and the mystical stage. The structure of VM consists of three sections: prologue, historia and theoria. Moses' three encounters with God, first in the burning bush, then in the darkness and last in the cleft of the rock, are called theophanies. The second and the third theophanies constitute a single scene of Moses' encounter with God on Mt. Sinai.

Keywords: De Vita Moysis (VM); Gregory of Nyssa; Moses; Mt. Sinai; spiritual journey; theophanies



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