Gregory was considered one of the “big three” church fathers (along with Gregory of Nazianzus and our subject’s older brother Basil) who fought for Trinitarian theology when it was attacked in the fourth-century. This book is a paraphrase of his fourth-century sermons on the Beatitudes. Unfortunately, the paraphraser, Michael Glerup, went far beyond attempting to reword Gregory’s thoughts for modern readers, choosing instead to update the sermons as if they were written today. Therefore, concepts and ideas that would have never entered Gregory’s mind are frequent. For example, Glerup talks of hedge-funds (p. 22), New Ageism (p. 26), self-esteem (p. 43) and references to characters in The Lord of the Rings (p. 105). As a result readers of this volume cannot be certain what Gregory actually taught and what Glerup is imposing.
While we appreciate Gregory’s defense of Trinitarianism, especially at the Council of Constantinople in 381 (p. 15) and other core doctrines, his promotion of allegorical hermeneutics (pp. 12, 18, 77, 110) and ascetic and mystical monasticism (pp. 13, 90-91, 117) has caused much harm to the church of Christ.
Except for a brief introduction to Gregory’s life and a sampling of his writings (which is deeply distorted by the paraphraser) this book has little to offer.
Gregory of Nyssa, Sermons on The Beatitudes paraphrased by Michael Glerup (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 2012) 124 pp., paper
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel