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São Basílio
Basílio Magno
Basílio, o Grande
Basílio de Cesareia
Basil of Caesarea
Saint Basil the Great
Basile de Césarée
Basile le Grand
Ἅγιος Βασίλειος ὁ Μέγας
Hágios Basíleios ho Mégas

Basílio, o Grande (330-379)

In his standard manual on ancient Christian writers, Johannes Quasten characterized Basil as “the man of action,” Gregory of Nazianzus as “the master of oratory,” and Gregory of Nyssa   as “the thinker.” Basil, he explained, was the “only one among the three Cappadocian Fathers to whom the cognomen Great has been attributed.” Gregory of Nazianzus, he continued, “might be called the humanist among the theologians of the fourth century in so far as he preferred quiet contemplation and the union of ascetic piety and literary culture to the splendor of an active life and ecclesiastical position”; he also earned the epithet “the Theologian” for his defense of the doctrine of the Trinity. And Gregory of Nyssa was “neither an outstanding administrator and monastic legislator like Basil, nor an attractive preacher and poet like Gregory of Nazianzus”; nevertheless, “as a speculative theologian and mystic” he was “by far the most versatile and successful author” among “the three great Cappadocians,” so that “if we compare Gregory of Nyssa as a theologian with the other two Cappadocians, Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus, we recognize his superiority immediately.” For that matter, his prominence over the other two also in this book-where statistical analysis would probably reveal that well over half the references are citations from his works-will indicate that “superiority,” as would almost certainly be the case with Augustine   in any book encompassing the theological and philosophical thought of Ambrose  , Jerome, and Augustine, the younger Western contemporaries of the Cappadocians, even though it remains the case, as Joseph Lebon has said, that Basil was “incontestably the master and the head of the group.” In his own way, Georges Florovsky has also drawn some of the comparisons that Quasten has, but he has sharpened the point in relation to the present theme. Basil, Florovsky said, “did not so much adapt Neoplatonism as overcome it”; as for Gregory of Nazianzus, “the idea which he expresses in Platonic language is not itself Platonic”; and of Gregory of Nyssa, Florovsky wrote, also somewhat paradoxically, that “Gregory’s enthusiasm for secular learning was only temporary. . . . However, he always remained a Hellenist.” [Jaroslav Pelikan  . Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis Of Natural Theology In the Christian Encounter with Hellenism]