By Patricia Ranft (auth.)
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65 There is no equivocation here, and similar statements can be found throughout his work,66 particularly in his Homily on the Martyr Julitta. “I am from the same lump,” Gregory recorded in Julitta’s voice, “as men. We have been made according to the image of God, as they also are. By creation, the female, with the same honour as the male, has become capable of virtue. And for what are we of the same race as men in all things? For not only flesh was taken for the fashioning of women, but also bones from bones.
67 Gregory Nazianzen, the third of the great Cappadocian theologians, likewise had personal experience of women’s spiritual direction from his mother Nonna and his sister Gorgonia. His eulogy at the funeral of his father Gregory the Elder was filled with higher praise for his mother than for his father. 69 After establishing Nonna as his father’s spiritual guide, Gregory described the nature of her spirituality and its influence beyond his father to the whole household. ” Her method of attainment was to reject the worldly goals of humanity and to redirect energies toward the spiritual.
36 That Macrina actually held the opinions and formed the arguments that Gregory puts in her mouth was never really considered. The possibility was dismissed outright for two reasons: because only someone educated in philosophy could write a treatise of such obvious Platonic shape and because Macrina was not a recognized intellectual capable of teaching the brilliant Gregory of Nyssa. Macrina’s contributions were not denied; they were simply not considered to be primary. Now that we are focusing on her and we are more aware of the contributions of women to the doctrinal development within Christianity, however, the possibility of her authorship appears more probable.
A Woman’s Way: The Forgotten History of Women Spiritual Directors by Patricia Ranft (auth.)