The Second Person of the Trinity in the Hymns of Synesius of Cyrene and Gregory of Nazianzus’ 'Poemata Arcana' and Orations

Kevin Wagner, PhD
Lecturer, University of Notre Dame, Sydney

Abstract: The early fifth century bishop, Synesius of Cyrene, was formed in the Neo-Platonic school of Hypatia of Alexandria. His writings disclose the fact that he struggled to integrate his Greek paideia and the Christian faith of his childhood. Most crucially we may note his infrequent use of the name of Jesus in his written corpus. Here we will examine his nine extant hymns – which are the most theological of his writings – in order to determine (within the limits of the genre) the orthodoxy of his Christology. To this end, we will investigate the influence of Gregory Nazianzen on Synesius. The juxtaposing of the Christologies of these two bishops offers a unique insight into Synesius’ acceptance of the Person after whom Christianity is named.