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The Legacy of the Feminine in the Christology of Origen of Alexandria, Methodius of Olympus, and Gregory of Nyssa

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image of Vigiliae Christianae

For Origen of Alexandria, Methodius of Olympus, and Gregory of Nyssa, who, through various networks of connections, fall into a kind of theological and philosophical family tree, virginity is a theological goldmine. These writers conceive of virginity as an all-embracing invitation to participation, a “performance” of Christology in which all Christians share. Origen’s notion of Scripture as the christological body that is literarily touchable introduces us to the encounter with Christ that is mediated through prayerful engagement with Scripture. Methodius of Olympus introduces us to the character Arete in his Symposium as an instantiation of the christological feminine. And, in Gregory of Nyssa’s handling of Macrina’s remains and her legacy, we find an avenue for participation in Christ alongside one who has already traveled a bit farther. These writers thought that renunciation was more than just a way of life open to all Christians; it was the way of life.

Affiliations: 1: Gordon College


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