The kind of poverty that was elected by Macrina and other members of her very rich family, and is exalted in the writings of her brother Gregory of Nyssa, is certainly a voluntary poverty. This choice, which is related to a broader choice for asceticism in a proto-monastic environment, and which is presented by Gregory of Nyssa as an emulation of the life of angels and an anticipation of the final apokatastasis, is closely linked with the repudiation of slavery. Indeed, this study will argue that Gregory’s attitude toward slavery not only parallels his attitude toward poverty but also is unique in early Christianity for the radical nature of his condemnation of slavery both de jure and de facto, and that the sole delegitimization of the institution of slavery in antiquity came from ascetics, in both Judaism and Christianity, and was connected with voluntary poverty and service to others.


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pp. 87-118
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