Bibliography #4:

  Athanasius & the Trinitarian Controversy

 - New Testament
 - Early Christianity
 - Medieval Christianity
 - The Reformation
 - Spirituality & Mysticism
 - Sacraments
 - 20th-Century Theology







#1: Surveys, Intros
#2: Ignatius of Antioch
#3: Origen
#4: Athanasius
#5: Cyril of Alexandria
#6: Jerome & Ambrose
#7: Augustine of Hippo
#8: Antony
#9: Cyril of Jerusalem
#10: Melania the Elder


 compiled by William Harmless, S.J.

Creighton University


    1. Constantine & the Christianization of the Roman Empire

    2. The "Arian" Controversy

    3. Athanasius: Texts & Translations

    4. Athanasius: Studies

    5. The Cappadocians: Texts & Translations

    6. The Cappadocians: Studies





Texts & Translations:

Eusebius [of Caesarea], The Life of Constantine, eds., Averil Cameron & Stuart Hall, Clarendon Ancient History Series (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

Eusebius of Caesarea, The Proof of the Gospel, ed. W.J. Ferrar (reprint: Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock).  An older translation, now back in print.

Lactantius, Divine Institutes, Translated Texts for Historians, trans. Anthony Bowen & Peter Garnsey (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2003).


H.D. Drake, Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance, Ancient Society and History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 2000).  It was Constantine who ended the persecutions and opened the path for the flowering of Christianity in the 4th century.  He was a complex character, brutal at times, often misunderstood.  This offers an important revisionist reading of Constantine’s underlying political considerations.


Noel Lenski, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).  A helpful set of essays that surveys the time and issues surrounding the controversial figure of Constantine.  Probably the best place to start.


Timothy D. Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981).

Jonathan Bardill, Constantine, Divine Emperor of the Christian Golden Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Peter Brown, Authority and the Sacred: Aspects of the Christianisation of the Roman World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

Peter Brown, Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992).

Peter Brown, “Christianisation and Religious Conflict,” in Averil Cameron & Peter Garnsey, eds., The Late Empire, A.D. 337-425, Vol. 13 of The Cambridge Ancient History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) pp. 632-664.

Averil Cameron, Christianity and the Rhetoric of Empire: the Development of Christian Discourse (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991).

John R. Curran, Pagan City and Christian Capital: Rome in the Fourth Century, Oxford Classical Monograph (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).

Elizabeth DePalma Digeser, The Making of a Christian Empire: Lactantius and Rome (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000).

T.G. Elliott, The Christianity of Constantine the Great (Scranton: University of Scranton Press, 1997).

Garth Fowden, Empire to Commonwealth: Consequences of Monotheism in Late Antiquity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).

Martin Goodman, Mission and Conversion: Proselytizing in the Religious History of the Roman Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

R. Ross Holloway, Constantine and Rome (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004).

Aaron P. Johnson, Ethnicity and Argument in Eusebius’ Praeparatio Evangelica, Oxford Early Christian Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

A.M.H. Jones, Constantine and the Conversion of Europe, Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching 4 (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1978).

D.G. Kousoulas, The Life and Times of Constantine the Great: The First Christian Emperor, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2003).

Ramsay Macmullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984).

Doron Mendels, The Media Revolution of Early Christianity: An Essay on Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1999).

Arnaldo Momigliano, ed., The Conflict between Paganism and Christianity in the Fourth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963).  Classic essays.

A.D. Nock, Conversion: the Old and the New in Religion from Alexander the Great to Augustine of Hippo (reprint: Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).

Charles M. Odahl, Constantine and the Christian Empire, Roman Imperial Biographies (New York: Routledge, 2004).

Claudia Rapp, Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity: The Nature of Christian Leadership in an Age of Transition, Transformation of the Classical Heritage (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005).

Michele Renee Salzman, The Making of a Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).

Jeremy M. Schott, Christianity, Empire, and the Making of Religion in Late Antiquity (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).

Raymond Van Dam, The Roman Revolution of Constantine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

Raymond Van Dam, Remembering Constantine at the Milvian Bridge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014) paperback, $30. NEW.





R.P.C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: the Arian Controversy, 318-381 AD (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1988; reprint, 2000).  The fourth century saw one of the most momentous battles in the history of Christian theology: a debate over Christ's divinity, whether or not he is "true God", and if so, then how Christians can legitimately claim to be monotheists.  The one who sparked the debate was Arius of Alexandria (d. 338), whose views were formally condemned by the Council of Nicaea in 325.  The debate continued for decades and has often been referred to as the "Arian controversy."  As Hanson demonstrates, the debate on the far side of Nicaea was quite different, and those theologians traditionally labelled as "Arians", in fact, had little to do with Arius or his views.  This book is a massive 900-page study of Nicaea, Athanasius, & the Cappadocians and is the finest and the most exhaustive treatment of the theology of the Trinitarian controversy.


Lewis Ayres, Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).  A very important revisionist interpretation of the development of the doctrine of the divinity of Christ and of the Trinity.  Not easy reading, and Ayres presumes you know the basics of that development, but an essential text.  This needs to be read against Hanson's work, which Ayres both builds on and challenges on numerous points.


Franz Dünzl, A Brief History of the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Early Church (London: T&T Clark, 2007).  The history of this debate is complicated, to say the least, and the work of Hanson, Ayres, and others has significantly rewritten the old textbook accounts.  This new work is a very helpful introduction and a straightforward overview of the history, the figures, and the issues.  It carefully incorporates new perspectives and can help newcomers transition to more complex treatments such as those of Hanson, Ayres, and Williams.


Philip R. Amidon, trans. and ed., Philostorgius: Church History, Writings from the Greco-Roman World (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007).  Philostorgius was an "Arian" historian.  This translation of Philostorgius' late 4th-century account offers an intriguing glimpse into seeing the events from the point of view of those who lost the debate.

Khaled Anatolios, Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011).

Michel René Barnes & Daniel H. Williams, ed., Arianism After Arius: Essays on the Development of the Fourth-Century Trinitarian Conflicts (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1993).

John Behr, The Nicene Faith, Vol. 2 of Formation of Christian Theology (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2004).  Part 1, The Nicene Faith: True God of True God, focuses on Arius, the Council of Nicaea, and Athanasius, while Part 2, The Nicene Faith: One of the Holy Trinity, focuses on the Cappadocians.

Robert C. Gregg & Dennis Groh, Early Arianism: a View of Salvation (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981).  Path-breaking perspectives on Arius; controversial.

Robert C. Gregg, ed., Arianism: Historical and Theological Reassessments, Patristic Monograph Series 11 (1985; reprint: Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2007).

David M. Gwynn, The Eusebians: The Polemic of Athanasius of Alexandria and the Construction of the 'Arian Controversy', Oxford Theological Monographs (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

Hamilton Hess, The Early Development of Canon Law and the Council of Serdica (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).

J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, 3rd ed. (1989; reprint: London: Longman, 1989).

Thomas Kopecek, History of Neo-Arianism, 2 vol., Patristic Monograph Series (Cambridge, MA: Philadelphia Patristic Society, 1979).

Joseph T. Lienhard, Contra Marcellum: Marcellus of Ancyra and Fourth-Century Theology (Washington: Catholic University Press, 1999).

Joseph T. Lienhard, “The ‘Arian’ Controversy: Some Categories Reconsidered,” Theological Studies 48 (1987) 415-436.

J. Rebecca Lyman, “Arius and Arians," in Susan Harvey and David Hunter, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 237-257.  One of the best brief overviews of new perspectives on the controversy.

Sara Parvis, Marcellus of Ancyra and the Lost Years of the Arian Controversy 325-345, Oxford Early Christian Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

Peter Phan, ed., Cambridge Companion to the Trinity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

David Rankin, "Arianism," in Philip F. Esler, The Early Christian World (New York: Routledge, 2000), 2:975-1001.

Hans Roldanus, The Church in the Age of Constantine: The Theological Challenges (New York: Routledge, 2006).

Jon M. Robertson, Christ as Mediator: A Study of the Theologies of Eusebius of Caesarea, Marcellus of Ancyra, and Athanasius of Alexandria, Oxford Theological Monographs (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

Manlio Simonetti, La crisi ariana nel iv secolo, Studia Ephemerides (Rome: Augustianum, 1975).

Basil Studer, Trinity and Incarnation: The Faith of the Early Church, ed. Andrew Louth (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1993).

Richard Paul Vaggione, Eunomius of Cyzicus and the Nicene Revolution, Oxford Early Christian Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

Maurice Wiles, Archetypal Heresy: Arianism Through the Centuries (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

Rowan Williams, Arius: Heresy and Tradition, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002).





Texts: Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria from 328 to his death in 373, played a central role in the defense of the Council of Nicaea and its assertion of the full divinity of Christ.  He was and is a complex and controversial figure and did much to create orthodox Christian doctrine as we now know it.  The 19th-century Montfaucon edition of Athanasius' Greek works is reproduced in J. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 25-28. The 20th-century critical edition of his corpus is Athanasius Werke (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1934-2000):

  • Vol. I/I (ed. M. Tetz): Epistula ad Episcopos Aegypti et Libyae, Orationes I et II Contra Arianos, Oration III Contra Arianos.

  • Vol. II/1 (ed. H.-G. Opitz): De decretis, De sententia Dioynsii, Apologia de fuga sua, Apologia contra Arianos, Epistula encyclica, De morte Arii, Historia Arianorum, De synodis, Apologia ad Constantium.

  • Vol. III/1: Urkunden zur Geschichte des Arianischen Streites 318-328.

Some of his works have been preserved in Syriac; for these, see R. W. Thomson, ed., Athanasiana syriaca, 3 vols., Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, vol. 257-258, 272-273, 324-325 (Louvain: SCO, 1965–1977).  Other recent editions include:


Apologiae (Apologies): J. M. Szymusiak, ed., Deux apologies, Sources chrétiennes 56bis (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1987).

Contra gentes (Against the Nations): R. W. Thomson, ed. and trans., Athanasius: Contra gentes and De incarnatione, Oxford Early Christian Texts (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971).  See also P. T. Camelot, ed., Athanase d’Alexandrie: Contre les païens, Sources chrétiennes 18bis (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1977).

De incarnatione (On the Incarnation): R. W. Thomson, ed. and trans., Athanasius: Contra gentes and De incarnatione, Oxford Early Christian Texts (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971).  Also: Charles Kannengiesser, ed., Athanase d’Alexandrie: Sur l’incarnation du Verbe, rev. ed., Sources chrétiennes 199 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1973).

Epistolae ad Serapionem (Letters to Serapion): J. Lebon, ed., Lettres à Serapion sur la divinité du Saint Esprit, Sources chrétiennes 15 (Paris: Édition du Cerf, 1947).

Vita Antonii (Life of Antony): G.J.M. Bartelink, ed., Athanase d’Alexandrie: Vie d’Antoine, SC 400 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1994).

Translations:  The bulk of Athanasius' works were translated in the 19th century by John Henry Newman and others in the Oxford movement.  These are available as volume 4 in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second series (1893; reprint: Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995); also available at various websites on the internet.  These are slowly being replaced by new translations that draw on the updated critical edition:


Khaled Anatolios, ed., Athanasius, Early Church Fathers (New York: Routledge, 2005).  This opens with a lengthy introduction that includes both an overview of Athanasius’ life and world and a study of his theology; this is followed by new translations of some of Athanasius’ major works, including his On the Council of Nicaea (De decretis) and his Letters to Serapion. 


Robert C. Gregg, trans., Athanasius: The Life of Anthony and The Letter to Marcellinus, Classics of Western Spirituality (New York: Paulist Press, 1980).  Athanasius' Life of Antony was one of the earliest Christian best-sellers and did much to popularize monasticism throughout the ancient world.  It would also set the standard for all later lives of the saints.  This volume also includes his Letter to Marcellinus, setting out how Christians should read and pray the Psalms.


David Brakke, Athanasius and the Politics of Asceticism, Oxford Early Christian Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). The appendix has translations of some of his letters preserved only in Coptic and Syriac. 

John Behr, ed. and trans., St. Athanasius: On the Incarnation, Popular Patristics series, vol. 44a (Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2012).  Has the Greek text with a fine new translation on facing pages.

Mark DelCogliano and Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, trans., Works on the Spirit: Athanasius the Great and Didymus the Blind, Popular Patristics, vol. 43 (Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2012).  At long last, a fine complete translation of Athanasius' four great letter to Serapion--which inaugurated the defense of the divinity of the Holy Spirit.  Includes the first English translation of Didymus' On the Holy Spirit.

E.P. Meijering, Athanasius: Contra Gentes; Introduction, Translation, and Commentary, Philosophia Patrum: Interpretation of Patristic Texts 7 (Leiden: Brill, 1984).

Richard A. Norris, The Christological Controversy, Sources of Early Christian Thought (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980).  This has Athanasius’ 3rd Oration Against the Arians.

Robert W. Thomson, trans., Athanasius: Contra Gentes and De Incarnatione (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971). The Greek text and English translation on facing pages.

Carolinne White, trans., Early Christian Lives, Penguin Classics (New York: Penguin Books, 1998.  Contains a translation of the Latin version of the Life of Antony.





David Brakke, “Athanasius,” in Philip F. Esler, ed. The Early Christian World (New York: Routledge, 2000) 2:1102-1127.  It is in large measure due to Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria from 328-373, that Nicaea survived.  He combined shrewd, determined political action and a penetrating theology to rescue the faith of Nicaea.  And he knew well that the stakes were Christian faith itself: that God is one and that Christ is true God.  It is important to note that recent studies of Athanasius disagree with one another, sometimes sharply, about overall interpretation of Athanasius’ character and many details of his career.  This brief overview introducers readers to the terms of the debate.


Khaled Anatolios, Athanasius: The Coherence of His Thought (New York: Routledge, 1998). A fine systematic overview of Athanasius as a theologian.  Anatolios reads Athanasius in his own terms rather than in terms of Nicene terminology or of later issues (such as the christology of the 5th century).


Duane W.-H. Arnold, The Early Episcopal Career of Athanasius of Alexandria, (Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 1991) hardcover. Overly defensive.

Lewis Ayres, “Athanasius’ Initial Defense of the Term Ομοούσιος: Rereading the De Decretis,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 12 (2004) 337-359.

Timothy D. Barnes, Athanasius & Constantius (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993).  An unduly skeptical view.

David Brakke, Athanasius and Asceticism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1998).  A reprint of the earlier Athanasius and the Politics of Asceticism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

David Brakke, “Canon Formation and Social Conflict in Fourth-Century Egypt: Athanasius of Alexandria’s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter,” Harvard Theological Review 87 (1994) 395-419.

James D. Ernest, The Bible in Athanasius of Alexandria, The Bible in Ancient Christianity 2 (Leiden: Brill, 2004).

Aloys Grillmeier, Christ in the Christian Tradition, vol. 1: From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon, rev. ed., trans. John Bowden (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1975).

David Gwynn, Athanasius of Alexandria: Bishop, Theologian, Ascetic, Christian Theology in Context (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).

William Harmless, Desert Christians: An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). This has two chapters on Athanasius' Life of Antony.

Charles Kannengiesser, ed., Politique et Theologie chez Athanase d’Alexandre, Théologie historique 27 (Paris: Beauchesne, 1974).

Charles Kannengiesser, Athanase d’Alexandre, Évêque et Écrivain: Une lecture des traités Contre les Ariens, Theologie historique 70 (Paris: Beauchesne, 1983).

Charles Kannengiesser, Arius and Athanasius: Two Alexandrian Theologians, Collected Studies 353 (London: Variorum Reprints, 1991).

Charles Kannengiesser, “Athanasius of Alexandria and the Ascetic Movement of His Time,” in Asceticism, ed. Vincent Wimbush (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) 479-492.

Richard A. Layton, Didymus the Blind and His Circle in Late-Antique Alexandria: Virtue and Narrative in Biblical Scholarship (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 2004).  The first book-length study in English of Didymus.

Peter J. Leithart, Athanasius, Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011).

Andrew Louth, “Athanasius’ Understanding of the Humanity of Christ,” Studia Patristica 16 (1985) 309-323.

J. Rebecca Lyman, Christology and Cosmology: Models of Divine Activity in Origen, Eusebius, and Athanasius, Oxford Theological Monographs (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).

Annick Martin, Athanase d’Alexandre et l’église d’Egypte au IVe siècle (328-373), Collection de l’École française de Rome 216 (Rome: 1996).  The most exhaustive study of Athanasius’ career and context to date.

E.P. Meijering, Orthodoxy and Platonism in Athanasius: Synthesis or Antithesis? (Leiden: Brill, 1968 / 1974).

E.P. Meijering, “Athanasius on the Father as the Origin of the Son,” in God Being History: Studies in Patristic Philosophy (Amsterdam: North-Holland Pub. Co., 1975).

X. Morales, La théologie trinitaire d’Athanase d’Alexandrie, Études augustiniennes—antiquité (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2006).

Johannes Roldanus, Le Christ et l’homme dans la théologie d’Athanase d’Alexandre, Studies in the History of Christian Thought 4 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1977).

Thomas G. Weinandy, Athanasius: A Theological Introduction, Great Theologians Series(Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007).

Peter Widdicombe, The Fatherhood of God from Origen to Athanasius, Oxford Theological Monographs, rev. ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).





The three Cappadocian Fathers—Basil of Caesarea (d.379), Gregory of Nazianzus (d.389), and Gregory of Nyssa (d.395)—are seen, in retrospect, as Athanasius’ successors.  They not only continued the defense of the full divinity of Christ against Eunomius and other radical anti-Nicenes; they also defended the divinity of the Holy Spirit and were the architects of the classic Christian doctrine of the Trinity.


Texts: For the Greek text of their works, the old standard is that found in J. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 29-32 (for Basil), vol. 35-38 (for Gregory of Nazianzus), and vol. 44-46 (for Gregory of Nyssa)  In the case of Gregory of Nyssa, this has been largely superceded by the series Gregorii Nysseni Opera, begun in 1921 by Werner Jaeger, with 13 volumes to date.  The standard edition of Basil’s letters is the 3-volume edition by Yves Courtonne (Paris: 1957).  For the Greek text with a facing French translation, see the following volumes from the Sources chrétiennes (Paris: Éditions du Cerf):

  • Basil of Caesarea, On the Holy Spirit, ed. B. Pruche, SC 17bis.

  • Basil of Caesarea, Hexameron, ed. S. Giet, SC 26

  • Basil of Caesarea, On the Origin of the Human Person, ed. A. Smets, SC 160

  • Basil of Caesarea, Contra Eunomium, ed. B. Sesboué, SC 299 & 305

  • Gregory of Nazianzus, Orations, ed. A. Tulier & J. Bernardi, SC 149, 208, 247, 250, 270, 284, 309, 318, 358, & 384

  • Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses, ed. Jean Danielou, SC 1bis

  • Gregory of Nyssa, On the Creation of the Human Person, SC 6

  • Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, ed. J. Aubinaeu, SC 119.

  • Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Saint Macrina, ed. P. Maraval, SC 178

  • Gregory of Nyssa, Letters, ed. P. Maraval, SC 363.

Translations: Most of the important writings of the Cappadocians have been translated.  A 19th-century translation is found in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers series (1895; reprint: Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1992): vol. 5 (Gregory of Nyssa); vol. 7 (Gregory of Nazianzus); and vol. 8 (Basil of Caesarea).  Versions of this can be found on the Internet.  As with Athanasius, these older translations are gradually replaced by better and more up-to-date translations.  See especially:


St. Gregory of Nazianzus, On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters of Cledonius, trans. Lionel Wickham, Popular Patristics Series (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2002).  Gregory of Nazianzus’ Five Theological Orations may be the finest lecture series in the history of Christianity—at once, a literary and theological tour de force.  Gregory gave these talks soon after his arrival in Constantinople, around 380.  They articulate what the Church has come to believe about the Trinity and about the divinity and humanity of Christ.  This translation had previously been published in an expensive edition by Brill; so this edition is a real bargain.  An earlier translation is found in Edward Hardy, ed. Christology of the Later Fathers, Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1954); this volume contains not only Gregory’s Theological Orations but also Gregory of Nyssa’s To Ablabius: On Why One Should Not Say There are Three Gods and his Catechetical Oration.


St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, trans. Stephen Hildebrand, Popular Patristics series 42 (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011).  It was this treatise by Basil more than any other which cleared the way for the formal declaration of the divinity of the Holy Spirit by the Council of Constantinople in 381.  This excellent new translation replaces older (and less accurate) one by David Anderson published in 1980.


Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses, Classics of Western Spirituality, trans. Everett Ferguson & Abraham J. Malherbe (New York: Paulist Press, 1978).  Gregory was not only one of the architects of trinitarian doctrine but was also a mystic.  Here he allegorizes the Exodus story, treating it as the map of the journey of the soul to God.


St. Basil the Great, On the Human Condition, trans. Nonna Verna Harrison, Popular Patristics Series (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2005).

St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul & Resurrection, trans. Catharine P. Roth, Popular Patristics Series (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1993).

Georges A. Barrois, trans., The Fathers Speak: Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Selected Letters (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1986).

Virginia Woods Callahan, trans., Gregory of Nyssa: Ascetical Works, Fathers of the Church 58 (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1967).

Roy J. Deferrari, trans., Basil of Caesarea: The Letters, Loeb Classical Library, 4 vol. (New York: G. Putnam, 1922-1934; reprint: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

Mark DelCogliano, trans., St. Basil the Great: On Christian Doctrine and Practice, Popular Patristics series, vol. 47 (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2013) paperback, $22.  NEW.  Includes translations of Homily on the Beginning of Proverbs, Homily on Humility, Homily on Envy, Homily on Detachment from Worldly Things, Homily on Faith, Homily on the Beginning of the Gospel of John, Homily on Not Three Gods, Homily Against the Sabellians, Anomoians, and Pneumatomachians

Brian Dunkle, trans., Saint Gregory of Nazianzus: Poems on Scripture, Popular Patristics series, vol. 46 (Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2013) paperback, $22.  NEW.

Peter Gilbert, trans., On God and Man: The Theological Poetry of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Popular Patristics Series (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001).

Ronald Heine, ed., Gregory of Nyssa’s Treatise on the Inscriptions of the Psalms, Oxford Early Christian Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

Denis Molaise Meehan, trans., Gregory of Nazianzus: Three Poems, Fathers of the Church 75 (Washington: Catholic University Press, 1987).

Frederick W. Norris, ed., Faith Gives Fullness to Reasoning: the Five Theological Orations of Gregory of Nazianzus, trans., Lionel Wickham and Frederick Williams, Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 13 (Leiden: Brill, 1991).  A superb translation of & extensive commentary on Gregory’s remarkable Theological Orations.

C. Paul Schroeder, trans., On Social Justice: St. Basil the Great, Popular Patristic series (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2009).

Anna Silvas, ed., The Asketikon of St. Basil the Great, Oxford Early Christian Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).  A new translation of Basil's monastic classics, The Longer Responses and The Shorter Responses.

A. Spira and C. Klock, eds., The Easter Sermons of Gregory of Nyssa: Translation and Commentary (Cambridge: Philadelphia Patristic Foundation, 1981).

Martha Vinson, St. Gregory of Nazianzus: Select Orations, Fathers of the Church 107 (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2004).

Monica Wagner, trans., Basil of Caesarea: Ascetical Works, Fathers of the Church 9 (Washington: Catholic University Press of America, 1950).

Carolinne White, trans., Gregory of Nazianzus: Autobiographical Poems, Cambridge Medieval Classics, vol. 6 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996).  Greek text and English translation on facing pages.





There are a number of excellent studies of the Cappadocian Fathers and their theology.  A few key ones are listed below.  Others are found within larger surveys of the Arian Controversy (see above, especially those by R.P.C. Hanson, Lewis Ayres, and Khaled Anatolios).


Brian E. Daley, Gregory of Nazianzus, Early Church Fathers Series (New York: Routledge, 2006). Daley opens with a lengthy introduction to Gregory's life and works under various headings ("the Humanist", "the Philosopher", "the Theologian", and "the Priest").  He then offers new translations of a variety of Gregory's works, including 8 of the Orations, and a selection of the poems and letters.


Christopher A. Beeley, Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God, Oxford Studies in Historical Theology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).  Excellent introduction to the Cappadocian approach to the Trinity.


Michel René Barnes, The Power of God: Dynamis in Gregory of Nyssa’s Trinitarian Theology (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2001).

Christopher A. Beeley, ed., Re-Reading Gregory of Nazianzus: Essays on History, Theology, and Culture CUA Studies in Early Christianity, vol. 5 (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2012).

Hans Boersma, Embodiment and Virtue in Gregory of Nyssa: An Anagogical Approach, Oxford Early Christian Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), hardcover, $130. NEW.

M. Cassin and H. Grelier, eds, Grégoire de Nysse: la Bible dans la construction de son discours: Actes du Colloque de Paris, 9-10 février 2007, Collection d’Études Augustiniennes, Series Antiquité 184 (Paris: Institut d’Études Augustiniennes, 2008).

Sarah Coakley, ed., Rethinking Gregory of Nyssa (New York: Routledge, 2003).

Brian E. Daley, “Divine Transcendence and Human Transformation: Gregory of Nyssa’s Anti-Apollinarian Christology,” Studia Patristica 32 (Leuven: Peters, 1997), 87-95.

Brian E. Daley, “‘Heavenly Man’ and ‘Eternal Christ’: Apollinarius and Gregory of Nyssa on the Personal Identity of the Savior,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 10 (2002): 469-488.

Mark DelCogliano, Basil of Caesarea’s Anti-Eunomian Theory of Names: Christian Theology and Late-Antique Philosophy in the Fourth Century Trinitarian Controversy, Vigiliae Christianae Supplements 103 (Boston / Leiden: Brill, 2010).

Volker Henning Drecoll and Margitta Berghaus, eds., Gregory of Nyssa: The Minor Treatises on Trinitarian Theology and Apollinarism: Proceedings of the 11th International Colloquium on Gregory of Nyssa (Tübingen, 17-20 September 2008), Vigiliae Christianae Supplements, vol. 106 ( Boston / Leiden: Brill, 2011).

Hubertus R. Drobner & Albert Viciano, eds., Gregory of Nyssa: Homilies on the Beatitudes: An English Version with Commentary and Supporting Studies, Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 52 (Leiden: Brill, 2000).

Susanna Elm, Sons of Hellenism, Fathers of the Church: Emperor Julian, Gregory of Nazianzus, and the Vision of Rome, Transformation of the Classical Heritage (Berkeley: University of California, 2012).

Paul Jonathan Fedwick, ed., Basil of Caesarea: Christian, Humanist, Ascetic, 2 volumes, (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1981).

Robert C. Gregg, Consolation Philosophy: Greek and Christian Paideia in Basil and the Two Gregories, Patristic Monograph Series 3 (Cambridge, MA: Philadelphia Patristic Foundation, 1975).

Stuart G. Hall, ed., Gregory of Nyssa, Homilies on Ecclesiastes.  An English Version with Supporting Studies, Seventh International Colloquium on Gregory of Nyssa (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1993).

Ronald E. Heine, “Gregory of Nyssa’s Apology for Allegory,” Vigiliae Christianae 38 (1984) 360-370; reprinted in The Bible in the Early Church, ed. Everett Ferguson, Studies in Early Christianity, vol. 3 (New York: Garland, 1993).

Stephen M. Hildebrand, The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea: A Synthesis of Greek Thought and Biblical Truth (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2007).

Stephen M. Hildebrand, Basil of Caesarea, Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014) paperback, $27. NEW.

Andrew Hofer, Christ in the Life and Teaching of Gregory of Nazianzus, Oxford Early Christian Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013) hardcover, $99. NEW.

Susan R. Holman, The Hungry Are Dying: Beggars and Bishops in Roman Cappadocia, Oxford Studies in Historical Theology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

Augustine Holmes, A Life Pleasing to God: The Spirituality of the Rules of St. Basil, Cistercian Studies 189 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2000).

Martin Laird, Gregory of Nyssa and the Grasp of Faith, Oxford Early Christian Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Joseph T. Lienhard, “Ousia and Hypostasis: The Cappadocian Settlement and the Theology of ‘One Hypostasis,” pp. 99-121, in Stephen T. Davis et al., The Trinity: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Trinity (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).

Vasiliki M. Limberis, Architects of Piety: The Cappadocian Fathers and the Cult of the Martyrs (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

Andrew Louth, The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).

Morwenna Ludlow, Gregory of Nyssa, Ancient and (Post)modern (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).

Timothy P. McConnell, Illumination in Basil of Caesarea’s Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, Emerging Scholars Series (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014) paperback, $60. NEW.

John McGuckin, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001).

Anthony Meredith, Gregory of Nyssa, Early Church Fathers Series (New York: Routledge, 1999).

Frederick Norris, “Gregory Nazianzen: Constructing and Constructed by Scripture,” pp. 149-162, in The Bible in Greek Christian Antiquity, ed. Paul Blowers (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997).

Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Transformation of Divine Simplicity, Oxford Early Christian Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).

Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, Basil of Caesarea: A Guide to His Life and Doctrine (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2012).

Rosemary R. Reuther, Gregory of Nazianzus: Rhetor and Philosopher (1969; reprint: Lima, OH: Academic Renewal Press, 2003).

Philip Rousseau, Basil of Caesarea, Transformation of the Classical Heritage 20 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

Lucian Turcescu, Gregory of Nyssa and the Concept of Divine Persons, AAR Academy Series (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

Raymond Van Dam, Kingdom of Snow: Roman Rule and Greek Culture in Cappadocia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002).

Raymond Van Dam, Becoming Christian: The Conversion of Roman Cappadocia (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 2003).

Raymond Van Dam, Families and Friends in Late Roman Cappadocia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003).

Carolinne White, Christian Friendship in the Fourth Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992).

Rowan Williams, “Macrina’s Deathbed Revisited: Gregory of Nyssa on Mind and Passion,” in L. Wickham and C. Bammel, Christian Faith and Greek Philosophy in Late Antiquity, Supplement to Vigiliae Christianae 19 (Leiden: Brill, 1993).

Donald F. Winslow, The Dynamics of Salvation: A Study in Gregory of Nazianzus, Patristic Monograph Series (Cambridge, MA: Philadelphia Patristic Foundation, 1979).

Johannes Zachhuber, Human Nature in Gregory of Nyssa, Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 46 (Leiden: Brill, 1999).



Revised: July 14, 2014

 Page Content developed by

  William Harmless, SJ