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36 - Ordering Emotional Communities: Modes of Knowing in Gregory the Great

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2023

Lewis Ayres
Affiliation:
University of Durham and Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Michael W. Champion
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Matthew R. Crawford
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
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Summary

The focus of this chapter is Gregory’s ordering of exegetical, spiritual, administrative, intellectual, emotional, and gendered knowledge across his oeuvre. The sections are organised by genre into three groups according to the kind of knowledge ordered within. Gregory’s homilies and commentaries on scripture were primarily intended to convey exegetical knowledge within a framework that prioritised divine law as the primary ordering principle in the social hierarchy. His Pastoral Rule and the Dialogues both employed knowledge of the human passions to teach spiritual truths and offer practical advice for living a Christian life in emotional communities. Gregory’s many letters inscribed his strictly hierarchical social order, with special attention to networks of women of influence outside Rome. A constant feature across Gregory’s oeuvre was the coupling of spiritual and intellectual knowledge for the benefit of all levels of society and for the sake of the church.

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The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity
Reshaping Classical Traditions
, pp. 690 - 704
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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