Gregory of Nazianzus

series: Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality

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An Accessible Introduction to Gregory of Nazianzus

Brian Matz, a respected scholar of the history of Christianity, provides an accessible and erudite introduction to the thought of fourth-century church father Gregory of Nazianzus. Matz explores Gregory's homilies, especially those that reveal Gregory's affirmation of the full deity of the Holy Spirit, and shows the importance of Gregory's work for contemporary theology and spirituality. This work demonstrates a patristic approach to reading the Bible and promotes a vision for the Christian life that is theological, pastoral, and philosophical. Gregory of Nazianzus is the fourth book in a series on the church fathers edited by Hans Boersma and Matthew Levering.

1. Gregory as Pastor and Theologian
2. Preaching Purification
3. Preaching Pastoring: Oration 2
4. Preaching Contemplation: Oration 45
5. Preaching Baptism: Oration 40
6. Preaching Love for the Poor: Oration 14
Appendix 1: Scriptures Cited in Oration 2
Appendix 2 : Scriptures Cited in Oration 45
Appendix 3 : Scriptures Cited in Oration 40
Appendix 4 : Scriptures Cited in Oration 14


"Matz has written an intriguing book on Gregory of Nazianzus. Centering attention on Gregory's pastoral theology of purification, Matz relates this central theme to baptism, contemplation, concern for the poor, and other topics, without neglecting the theological controversy Gregory is best known for, the controversy on the Trinity. With each topic, Matz gives detailed attention to citations from Scripture. This insightful and lively book should renew and reorient studies of Gregory for decades to come."

Joseph T. Lienhard, SJ, Fordham University

"In this book, one of the greatest theologians of the early church comes to life as a complex and endearing human personality as well as an edifying and inspiring example of Christian discipleship and ministry. We encounter Gregory of Nazianzus as an earthen vessel filled with treasures of grace, prone to being overwhelmed by frustration with ecclesial politics but dedicated to a transformative union with God and other human beings that is motivated and informed by scriptural contemplation. Reading this book is itself a wonderful exercise in contemplation, which will inspire in the reader the same hunger and thirst for God that motivated Gregory's own spiritual journey."

Khaled Anatolios, professor of theology, University of Notre Dame

"For many years Gregory of Nazianzus, whom the Byzantines called the 'Second Demosthenes' and 'the Theologian,' was neglected by English-language theologians and historians, who generally did not appreciate the narrative structure of his theological systematic or his understanding of theological insight as poetic inspiration. This neglect has rightly been overturned in recent decades. In this elegant and lucid study, Brian Matz has done a splendid job explaining why Gregory matters and what profound depths of biblical and philosophical insight lie behind the rhetorician's elegant discourse."

John A. McGuckin, Nielsen Professor in Late Antique and Byzantine Christian History and professor of Byzantine Christian studies, Columbia University

"Brian Matz successfully fulfills his double aim for the book: introducing his readers to Gregory Nazianzen's reading and use of Scripture and to Gregory's pastoral theology of purification based on the former. This study makes the pastor Gregory's theology, concerns, and biblical hermeneutics intelligible and relevant to a contemporary audience (pastors in particular!) in clear, nuanced, and engaging ways."

Helen Rhee, professor of church history, Westmont College

The Author

  1. Brian Matz

    Brian Matz

    Brian Matz (PhD, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Saint Louis University) is associate professor of the history of Christianity and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Endowed Chair in Catholic Thought at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri. He...

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