Taming the Rhinoceros: Pauline Backings of Gregory's Mission

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    In Gregory the Great’s spirituality, conversion is not only the central authentic experience of faith but also the basic structure of the Christian life. For Gregory, the latter implies the return of the contemplative back into the world, to do God’s work, among which mission and preaching play a predominant role. Paul is one of the figures used by Gregory the Great as an inspirator and role model. For instance in Morals 31 where Saul/Paul plays a part in the inquiry into the significance of the figures of the rhinoceros, the horse and the eagle and hawk of Job 39:9-30. Both Paul’s conversion and his rap- ture into the Third Heaven play a role in Gregory’s exploration of Job, next to his reputation as Apostle of the Gentiles and status as one of God’s bold and holy preachers. In this article, I take the references to and interpretation of Paul in Morals 31 and (briefly) the Synodical Letter Ep. 1.24 as a lead to investigate how Paul is seen and used by Gregory the Great in the context of his spirituality of conversion and his ideas on preaching and mission. I argue that Gregory’s interpretation of Paul has a bearing on his missionary project, for instance in the case of the mission to Kent.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)281-289
    Number of pages9
    JournalStudia Patristica
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
    Event Sixth British Conference Patristic Birmingham : (5/7 september, 2016; 6 september 2016) - University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Duration: 5 Sept 20167 Sept 2016


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