The Influence of Philo’s De Abrahamo on Gregory of Nyssa’s De Vita Moysis

  • Markéta Bendová
Keywords: Philo of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, De Abrahamo, De Vita Moysis, Perfection, Virtue


Although Gregory of Nyssa was familiar with the work of Philo of Alexandria and no doubt drew inspiration from him in many ways, the number of
Philo’s works Gregory actually knew is still not known. This article explores the possible influence of Philo’s De Abrahamo on Gregory’s later work De vita Moysis, an association that has yet to be examined in sufficient detail. The similarities between both works will be elucidated by means of three themes: first, the manner in which both writings combine the retelling and allegorical interpretation of a biblical text; second, the soul’s insatiable pursuit of the good, by which the soul, in repeatedly reaching its limits, attains a kind of relative perfection, changing as a result; and third, the idea that the best inducement toward leading a good life is based on a desire for friendship with God.