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March 24, 2008 / vivator

Gregory of Nazianzus and Canon of Old Testament

Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 329 to 390 AD) was bishop of Constantinople (present day Istanbul) from 379 to 381 AD.  Coming from well-to-do family he was well educated and Nazianzus was the place where he first studied. Gregory was known for his title “The Theologian” and together with John Chrysostom and Basil of Caesarea they are highly respected by eastern Orthodox Christians.   His most important works are the Orations (or Discourses).  In one of his works he gave us a list of Old Testament books comprising Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges & Ruth in one book, 1 to 4 Kings (Samuel and Kings), 1 & 2 Chronicles, 1 & 2 Esdras (Ezra Nehemiah), Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Proverbs, the Twelve, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel (source: J.P. Migne: Patrologia Græca, 37, 472-74).  Esther and deuterocanonical books are excluded while Lamentations could be combined with Jeremiah. This does not mean he rejected deuterocanonical books – in his works he still cited as scripture a number of deuterocanonical books: (English translation is from Nicene and Anti Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol. 7 with added scripture reference).

How did God sustain her? Not by raining down manna, as for Israel of old [Exodus 16:14] or opening the rock, in order to give drink to His thirsting people [Exodus 17:6], or feasting her by means of ravens, as Elijah [1 Kings 17:6], or feeding her by a prophet carried through the air, as He did to Daniel when a-hungered in the den [Bel & Dragon or Daniel 14:36].

Gregory of Naziansus, Oration 18.30

And how shall we preserve the truth that God pervades all things and fills all, as it is written “Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord,” [Jeremiah 23:24] and “The Spirit of the Lord filleth the world,” [Wisdom 1:7] if God partly contains and partly is contained?

Gregory of Naziansus, Oration 28.8

But if not, what will you say to the suggestion on the other side, that on your hypothesis the Son has been called the only God. In what passage? Why, in this:-This is your God; no other shall be accounted of in comparison with Him, and a little further on, after this did He shew Himself upon earth, and conversed with men. [Baruch 3:35-37]

Gregory of Naziansus, Oration 30.13

The Father doth not glory in the dishonour of the Son. If a wise Son maketh a glad Father [Proverbs 10:1]. how much more doth the honour of the Son become that of the Father! And if you also accept this saying, My Son, glory not in the dishonour of thy Father [Sirach 3:10], similarly the Father doth not glory in the Son’s dishonour.

Gregory of Naziansus, Oration 37:18


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