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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 form—a 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 Gregory’s life, engagement with literary culture, and leadership in the church. As a single unit, this autobiographical epistolary collection proved a powerful tool in Gregory’s attempts to govern the contours of his authorial image as well as his provincial and ecclesiastical legacy.
About the Author
Bradley K. Storin is Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Louisiana State University.
"Storin offers a thought-provoking analysis. . . . [and the] book is a welcome addition to the scholarship on Gregory’s self-presentation and will certainly stimulate further discussion about the ways we read his letter collection."
— Bryn Mawr Classical Review
"Provides clear and succinct introductions to several aspects of the social and intellectual life of Late Antiquity. It is, moreover, a commendable illustration of how these insights can be applied to specific texts."
— Scoreboard for Classical Studies
"Will prove valuable not only to scholars of Gregory or ancient epistolography, but all those interested in the interdependent constructions of rhetoric, philosophy, and the self in late antiquity."
— Ancient Jew Review