Mystics and Mountains: Comparing Origen’s Exegesis of the Transfiguration and Gregory of Nyssa’s Exposition of the Sinai Theophany

Paul M. Blowers
Professor of Church History
Emmanuel Christian Seminary
Johnson City, Tennessee USA

Abstract: Origen’s interpretation of the Transfiguration of Christ on Mt Tabor proved to be crucially important for his larger Christology and understanding of the economy of salvation, while Gregory of Nyssa’s interpretation of the Sinai Theophany in Exodus was a key link in his apophatic theology and his understanding of human participation in the mystery of the triune God. This essay compares the two as models of “anagogical” and “mystical” exegesis in which the biblical text is envisioned as providing its own spiritual topography and strategy of elevation, with the living Logos himself as guide to sublime intimacy with God.