The summer reading selection for incoming Duke Divinity School students has been announced. This year’s selection is a classic of Christian spirituality: Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Moses . One of the highly influential early church theologians in Capadocia (present-day Turkey), Gregory (A.D. 335-394) became bishop of Nyssa in 371.
In Life of Moses, he responds to a request for spiritual guidance by exploring the biblical account of Moses as “our example in life.” By closely attending to the Old Testament narrative from an explicitly Christian perspective, Gregory provides an exemplary model for the theological interpretation of Scripture. Ultimately Gregory finds in Moses’ life a “pattern of beauty” worthy of continued imitation by Christians and summarized in the biblical description of Moses as “friend of God.”
Stephen B. Chapman, Associate Professor of Old Testament, welcomed the choice, saying “At the heart of any robust Christian spirituality is a patient, expectant engagement with Scripture—really looking at how it reads and really listening to what God has to say. Even though it was written almost seventeen centuries ago, Gregory’s wise way with the Bible remains remarkably current in its basic hermeneutical approach and pastoral aims.”
All Divinity School students and faculty are encouraged to read this book over the summer and incorporate it into their fall activities, and it is required reading for first-year students. The book will also feature in the school's spiritual formation groups, which are mandatory for first-year students.