Hans Boersma

Hans Boersma Articles

Hans Boersma: Articles including the topics of sacramental ontology, Nouvelle Theologie, and Patristic exegesis.


Overcoming Time and Space: Gregory of Nyssa’s Anagogical Theology

Journal of Early Christian Studies 20:4 (2012), 575–612



This essay challenges the interpretation of Gregory of Nyssa that sees him as envisioning created life retaining its diastemic character also in the hereafter. To Gregory, it is most important to enter into the divine life, and although this ascent (or anagogy) makes use of time and space, these do not properly characterize human destiny. While taking into account Gregory’s clear articulation of the creator-creature distinction as well as his insistence that the creator is beyond extension and thus beyond measurement, I make clear that Gregory is nonetheless impatient with the time and space that we inhabit; that the extension of time and space is not something that Gregory values for its own sake. Instead, what matters is the way in which we use every moment of our temporal lives to progress in our upward journey into the intelligible life of the heavenly kingdom—which, according to Nyssen, is both our origin and our final end.