In Early Christian Thinkers: The Lives and Legacies of Twelve Key Figures edited by Paul Foster the chapter on Gregory Thaumaturgus is written by Michael Slusser.

“Gregory was a third-century bishop in Pontus in northern Asia Minor (p. 154).” Slusser spends some time in this chapter unpacking the details of Gregory’s life (what we know). The most interesting thing in my opinion was the claim that he studied with Origen (p. 155). Slussler almost makes that same mistake that Ulrich Volp made with Hippolytus (see my “review” here) by venturing into speculation regarding what writings are original to Gregory and so forth and so on (pp. 156-160). I am sure that these discussion matter to those who have studied about Hippolytus or Gregory, and they may have place in a book with longer chapters, but as I said, this book is for beginners. I have never read about Hippolytus or Gregory, so tell me the basics!

Thankfully Slussler recovers by inviting a novice such as myself back into the conversation. We learn that he was quite the evangelist. Gregory of Nyssa told a story saying that when he came to Neocaesarea there were “seventeen Christians” and when he died there were “seventeen pagans.” This is hyperbole, but it gets the point across (p. 166).

Gregory knew the Scriptures well (pp. 166-167). His Christology emphasizes Jesus as Logos more than Jesus as a man. Slusser explains it not as “docetistic” but “kenotic (p. 168).” The Spirit receives mention in passing (p. 169). Most of his writings focused on his “moral vision” more than his “dogmatic” one (p. 170).

My biggest surprise was that the chapter said pretty much nothing about his nickname, “the Wonderworker.” This was the most fascinating aspect of his persona in my opinion and it is ignored. Unfortunate.