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Document Details :

Title: At a Still Point of a Turning World
Subtitle: Privacy and Asceticism in Gregory of Nyssa's Life of St. Macrina
Author(s): VASILEIOU, Fotis
Journal: Byzantion
Volume: 82    Date: 2012   
Pages: 451-463
DOI: 10.2143/BYZ.82.0.2174099

Abstract :
This article examines Macrina’s ascetic identity and Gregory of Nyssa’s intentions in writing the Life of his sister. Macrina’s highly complicated profile is constructed on the basis of two identities: a public one that displays the conservative life of an obedient daughter and/or a grieving wife, and a secret one that allowed her to lead the life of a virgin, who challenged and revised the traditional role of women in late antique family. This secrecy, though not attributed to Macrina alone, but almost to every character in the Life, is one of Gregory’s key patterns. As argued, this was his way to create an exemplum of asceticism, parallel to that developed in the Life of Anthony, but which instead would be accessible to laymen and would not contradict directly the ideals and norms of the Greco-Roman city.

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