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Posts Tagged ‘St. Gregory of Nyssa’

On the Soul and the Resurrection concludes, as the dying St. Macrina speaks to her brother about the body as compared to the resurrected body as the seed compares to the ear of wheat, and compares this to the unfallen bodies of humans when first created.

Part 12.

18:55.


I apologize for how long it’s taken me to complete this book. Thank you for your patience with me.

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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues, as St. Gregory of Nyssa talks with his dying(!) sister about stuff that doubters say about the Resurrection, continuing to ask her as his old teacher to assuage his fears about her passing.

The freaky thing is that St. Greg was apparently really bothered by the whole question of how it works to be resurrected, to the point of imparting all these complicated Greek worries that sound like Dr. McCoy and the transporter. I guess St. Macrina was used to her little brother freaking out, though. (Indeed, his life story lends one to suppose that he did fret and jump to weird conclusions about something weird all the time. This isn’t to say that he couldn’t be reasonable; he was a great theologian and teacher. But it took him a long hard road to get there, and in this case he may have reverted a bit, under stress.) It’s obvious that he has no hesitation about asking her this stuff; he’s not afraid at all that he might make her lose faith. There’s something very family about that.

Part 11.

36:53.


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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues, as St. Macrina argues against reincarnation some more.

Part 10.

25:40.


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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues. St. Greg and St. Mac finish talking about the soul and purgatory, St. Macrina tells everybody to quit complaining and just suck it up when it comes to the divine plan, we move onto talking about the resurrection of the body, and we learn why believing in reincarnation takes all the fun out of food.

Part 9.

24:55.


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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues, as we learn about the life of the soul after its initial separation from the body. We also learn that St. Macrina was of opinion that Purgatory and Hell were pretty much the same thing – the love of God drawing out what was good and destroying what was evil in the soul. I don’t think this is the current view (Hell is the absence of God is the usual view today), but I’m not really up on the theology of Hell. (Other than “Stay out of it.”)

Part 8.

22:47.


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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues. St. Macrina discusses Jesus’ parable of Dives the rich man and Lazarus the poor man, and why it’s good to get your suffering done on Earth. Then just in time for Halloween, we even have a patristic discussion of ghosts!

St. Macrina is such a theology/science geek. I mean, would this even occur to the average person on their deathbed? She’s either awfully tough-minded or giving her brother Greg a hard time to get him out of his grief rut. “Woooooooo… here I am on my deathbed, speculating about ghooooooosts….”

Part 7.

15:23.

[http://www.archive.org/download/NyssaSoulRes/NyssaSoulRes07.mp3]

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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues, as St. Macrina moves back into more speculative territory. She really seems to have liked the idea of the soul swanning around in the world in atoms. Well, that hadn’t all been worked out yet, so she had a right to speculate.

We also get some very fun similes, which she uses for how the soul hangs out with atoms, but which St. Greg points out are more suited to proving the possibility of resurrection in the exact same body.

We also have more fun with Greco-Roman speculation about the antipodes. Apparently some people, pagans and otherwise, thought Hades was logically on the opposite part of the globe to where they lived, and that this constituted “the underworld”. If St. M had believed this, she’d have believed her soul was somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and South America. So it’s a good thing she knew souls were immaterial and not bound by place! (Antipodemap.com figures this stuff out for you, btw.)

Part 6.

21:03.


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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues, as St. Macrina argues for evolution as the divine plan.

Well, okay, not really. But you could pretty clearly use this kind of recapitulation argument that way. And why not? It would be really amusing to watch Dawkins’ head explode if you did argue from the divine. St. Mac didn’t even know about all the little plants and bacteria and virii that live inside us and the various kinds of cell, all of which would improve her argument that humanity encapsulates bits of all the orders of Creation, and thus had to come along later than their beginnings. :) Evolution as an important part of God’s toolbox would seem to fit very naturally into this view.

Part 5.

17:52.


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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues the dialogue between St. Macrina and her brother St. Gregory of Nyssa. In this installment, we have some kinda iffy Greek ideas about atoms, emotions, and the soul, but there’s a strong ending.

Part 4.

21:12.


Btw, it turns out that icons of St. Macrina the Younger (ie, this one, not her grandmother the martyr) often depict her in the seat of a teacher/philosopher, or bearing a scroll.

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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues, as St. Macrina talks on her deathbed about Greco-Roman automata. Yep, it’s steampunk patristics!

Part 3.

17:49.


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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues, as St. Macrina starts arguing with Mr. Dawkins. Er, her brother, rehearsing the arguments of a Roman materialist or atheist.

Part 2.

21:56.


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The Life of St. Macrina ends with an account of her funeral, and a career soldier’s story of one of her deeds.

Part 4.

28:05.


This stuff is really amazing. You don’t often get this sort of detailed personal eyewitness account of an event from the ancient world, much less of a private citizen’s family event.

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The Life of St. Macrina continues, as we hear about the saint’s last hours from her brother’s point of view.

Part 3.

17:20.


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On the Soul and the Resurrection is a philosophical and theological dialogue between St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Macrina, when she was on her deathbed, and he was freaking out. (Another brother, St. Basil the Great, had just died a few months back, and St. Gregory was still mourning him when he found out his eldest sister was about to kick the bucket, too.) It’s probably fictionalized for educational purposes, but also seems to try to preserve St. Macrina’s teaching as faithfully as possible. I think you’ll find it interesting, especially once it really gets rolling next week.

This dialogue comes chronologically right after Part 2 and before Part 3 of The Life of St. Macrina. I’ll finish up The Life next week or so (there’s about three parts to go); but On the Soul and the Resurrection will take a lot longer.

Part 1.

9:30.


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The Life of St. Macrina continues, as she persuades her mother to turn the household into a religious community.

Part 2.

18:14.


I have to say that I really love the 4th century habit of calling the religious life or the Christian life “philosophy”, and of calling religious and hermits “philosophers”. It’s beautiful and fitting, but also very very Greek. :)

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