The Metaphysics of the Soul-Body relation underpinning Gregory of Nyssa's Anthropology and Political Thought
Workshop organized by Anna Marmodoro, Paris IAS fellow, within the framework of the Project "Power Structuralism in Ancient Ontologies" (Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University)
Gregory's anthropology both has a strong metaphysical basis and feeds directly and explicitly into his political thought (for example, consider his idea that slavery is unnatural because humans are created as self-directing creatures). This one-day workshop will focus on Gregory’s metaphysical views on the relationship between soul and body, and will explore how they shape his conception of human nature and human life in a social/political context. The working hypothesis that will be tested at the workshop is that Gregory thinks of the body-soul relation in hylomorphic terms, by tailor-fitting Aristotle’s original account to new philosophical and theological concerns. To test this hypothesis, we will bring historians, philosophers, and historical theologians together, to consider Gregory’s anthropology and political thought in this fresh metaphysical light. The workshop aims to ground its exploration in Gregory’s intellectual context – exploring hylomorphic strands in Origen and Plotinus as they feed into Gregory; and his historical context – considering how metaphysics and anthropology relate to his concrete social and political context, not just to supposedly abstract political ideas.