Gregory of Nyssa: On the Human Image of God

This book presents the first modern critical edition of the work of Gregory of Nyssa, On the Human Image of God (formerly known as On the Making of Man, De hominis opificio) and the first English translation since the nineteenth century. This treatise is one of the most important of Gregory’s texts. Paralleling the structure of Plato’s Timaeus, Gregory’s work begins by offering two analyses of the human being. The first presents the human being as the culmination of the ascent made by nature through the various levels of life, and as made, body and soul, in the image of God. The second considers why this is not immediately apparent, the need for time to be able to grow, individually and collectively, to this status, as the body of Christ, the image of God, and the role of sexuality within this growth. The third part of the work brings both analyses together, to see the same movement in the life-span of each person. The extensive introduction provided in this volume examines the philosophical and theological background of Gregory’s text, beginning with Anaxagoras, Plato (the Timaeus), Philo, and Origen, and also compares aspects of Gregory’s work with that of Irenaeus of Lyons and Maximos the Confessor.