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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Self-Portrait in Three Colors: Gregory of Nazianzusís Epistolary Autobiography
Storin, Bradley K.

Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019 pp. ix + 261. $95.00

Series Information
Christianity in Late Antiquity, 6

Description: A seminal figure in late antique Christianity and Christian orthodoxy, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus published a collection of more than 240 letters. Whereas these letters have often been cast aside as readers turn to his theological orations or autobiographical poetry for insight into his life, thought, and times, Self-Portrait in Three Colors focuses squarely on them, building a provocative case that the finalized collection constitutes not an epistolary archive but an autobiography in epistolary formóa single text composed to secure his status among provincial contemporaries and later generations. Shedding light on late-ancient letter writing, fourth-century Christian intelligentsia, Christianity and classical culture, and the Christianization of Roman society, these letters offer a fascinating and unique view of Gregoryís life, engagement with literary culture, and leadership in the church. As a single unit, this autobiographical epistolary collection proved a powerful tool in Gregoryís attempts to govern the contours of his authorial image as well as his provincial and ecclesiastical legacy.

Subjects: Early Christian Literature, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Theological Approaches

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Review by B. Lee Blackburn Jr.
Published 7/30/2020
Citation: B. Lee Blackburn Jr., review of Bradley K. Storin, Self-Portrait in Three Colors: Gregory of Nazianzusís Epistolary Autobiography, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).


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