Gregory of Nyssa’s fifteen homilies on the Song of Songs offer an important resource for the history of Christian biblical exegesis, as well as for the history of Christian ascetical and spiritual teaching, and stand alongside Origen’s commentary on the Song as a source for the later interpretative tradition. In addition to offering the original text and first English translation of all fifteen homilies, Norris provides an analysis of the characteristic themes of Gregory’s ascetical teaching, emphasizes its connection in his mind with the institution of baptism, and stresses the degree to which Gregory sees the teaching of the Song as addressed not to a special class of believers but to any and all Christians.
The late Richard A. Norris was Emeritus Professor of Church History at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and Honorary Canon Theologian to the Episcopal Bishop of New York. He was the author of numerous works in patristic church history, theology, and ecumenism, including most recently The Song of Songs: Interpreted by Early Christian and Medieval Commentators (Eerdmans).
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"Norris’s treatment of Gregory’s exegesis, though necessarily short of comprehensive, brings to bear his extensive erudition in the subject. He also offers thought-provoking observations on the text, both in the introduction and in the notes, and the translation itself is superb. This volume is both an admirable piece of scholarship and a very useful scholarly tool" — Sophie Cartwright, The Expository Times
“The publication of Richard Norris’s translation fully rewards the expectations of those who for many years knew he was working on this project. His patience and meticulous care in completing the work shortly before his death is matched only by the erudition and lucidity he has brought to the translation, the introduction, and the notes. This legacy of a great but modest scholar will richly inform all who consult it.” —Rowan A. Greer, Professor of Anglican Studies Emeritus, Yale Divinity School
“The Song of Songs’ indisputable importance in the history of biblical reception is once again confirmed by Richard Norris’s superb introduction and translation of Gregory of Nyssa’s Homilies on the Song of Songs. His English translation, accompanied by illuminating footnotes, provides readers with one more exegetical link in the Christian chain of allegorical interpretation of the Song of Songs extending from Origen’s Commentary to (and beyond) Bernard of Clairvaux’s Sermons.” —David W. Kling, author of The Bible in History: How the Texts Have Shaped the Times
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