Self-Portrait in Three Colors: Gregory of Nazianzus's Epistolary Autobiography
A seminal figure in late antique Christianity and Christian orthodoxy, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus published a collection of more than 240 letters. Whereas these letters have often been cast aside as readers turn to his theological orations or autobiographical poetry for insight into his life, thought, and times, Self-Portrait in Three Colors focuses squarely on them, building a provocative case that the finalized collection constitutes not an epistolary archive but an autobiography in epistolary form—a single text composed to secure his status among provincial contemporaries and later generations. Shedding light on late-ancient letter writing, fourth-century Christian intelligentsia, Christianity and classical culture, and the Christianization of Roman society, these letters offer a fascinating and unique view of Gregory’s life, engagement with literary culture, and leadership in the church. As a single unit, this autobiographical epistolary collection proved a powerful tool in Gregory’s attempts to govern the contours of his authorial image as well as his provincial and ecclesiastical legacy.
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Adelphius Alypius Amphilochius ascetic Asterius authority Basil dossier Basil’s Epistulae Biography bishop Bosporius Caesarius California Press Cappadocia Carm Celeusius Christian church claim Cledonius cluster collection’s culture discourse divine elite eloquence Emperor episcopal epistolary Eudoxius Eulalius Eusebius of Caesarea Eusebius of Samosata Eustochius father Fourth Century friendship with Basil gory Grégoire de Nazianze Gregory Gregory Gregory of Nazianzus Gregory of Nyssa Gregory’s Gregory’s letters Helladius identifies the addressee identity Julian Jungck late antique letter collection Libanius literary Maurist McGuckin McLynn Meletius Modarius Nazianzus’s Nectarius Nemesius Nicobulus Nicobulus’s Nyss Nyssen Olympius Olympius Olympius Olympius Oratio orations Order Maurist Palladius parrhēsia Philagrius Philagrius Philagrius philosophical PLRE poems position post-Constantinople praise pro-Nicene Procopius Prosopographie provincial Ps.-Lib readers relationship rhetorical Roman Sacerdos Saint Grégoire Sasima self-presentational social sophist Sophronius Stagirius texts textual Thecla Themistius Theodore of Tyana Theodore Theodore Theodore Theodosius theological tion University Press v-family virtue