Mike Aquilina

Papal Pain Management

Friday May 23rd 2008, 11:40 am

Bryn Mawr Classical Review published a review of Kevin Hester’s Eschatology and Pain in St. Gregory the Great: The Christological Synthesis of Gregory’s ‘Morals on the Book of Job’ (Studies in Christian History and Thought).

Gregory the Great stands virtually alone among the early medieval popes in the extent to which we are familiar with not only the events of his pontificate, but also his distinctive personality. As with Augustine of Hippo, scholars have perceived much of the man in the writings, as Gregory’s character, temperament, and concerns are revealed not only in his copious epistles but in his theological works as well. At its heart, Kevin Hester’s Eschatology and Pain in St. Gregory the Great is an attempt to clarify one particular area of the Pope’s personal Christology through a close reading of the Moralia in Iob. Specifically, Hester attempts to show how Gregory’s ideas about redemptive pain and eschatology are “connected, related, and reconciled” through the Pope’s understanding of Christ as iudex (8). Hester’s study strongly reflects the concentrated focus of the doctoral dissertation on which it is based. Readers looking for a more comprehensive introduction to Gregory’s personal theology are advised to consult Carole Straw’s masterful synthesis, whose ideas Hester draws upon in his own work.

I haven’t read this new book, but I do second the recommendation of Carole Straw’s Gregory the Great: Perfection in Imperfection, a book I found illuminating. Hester’s use of Straw makes his own book all the more promising.

Hat tip on the review: Rogue Classicism.