By William R. Schoedel, Robert L. Wilken (eds.)
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Additional resources for Early Christian Literature and the Classical Intellectual Tradition. In honorem Robert M. Grant (Théologie historique 54)
Gregory, then, is concerned with the difficulty of expressmg, or indeed of knowing, one whose existence is presumed. For in the background of Gregory's Second Theological Oration is the Ednomian claim to define the nature of God. Gregory summarises his position as follows: To know God is difficult, to speak of him impossible, as one of the Greek theologians taught- quite cleverly it seems to me; for in saying it is difficult,'be appears to have comprehended him and yet escapes examination because of his inexpressibility; bul in my opinion, to speak of God is impossible and lo know him even more impossible.
His striking that in the fonner passage it is used without reference to other parts of the body and that by itself it has the same significance as the fuller series in§~- Moreover, the explanation that lrenaeus gives in§ 2, introduced by the word "dico", prompts us to ask why it was added. The impression is given that the author took up a familiar phrase to which he wanted to give a special sense. The combination ante pedes may mean "close by" or "in front of sometxxly" in contrast with a long distance 8 .
But what God has revealed is sufficient for man to anain full communion with him. The experiment with doxographical knowledge did not lead to scepticism, but to differentiation in our human knowledge of physical phenomena: some things are known, other things are not. 9) to the confession that now even with regard to the physical world this fligh opinion" of his cannot be maintained. What then arc we to think of his knowledge of the heavenly world that goes beyond and against God's revelation?! It has to be rejected as totally unfounded.