In the fourth century, the Christian church emerged from the catacombs as a spiritual and intellectual force, and many believers struggled to explain their faith within prevailing philosophical systems. Among them was St. Gregory, bishop of Nyssa, who examined the doctrine of the bodily resurrection.
Following Plato's literary example, St. Gregory wrote a dramatic dialogue regarding the soul and the resurrection in which he plays the role of "pupil," while his elder sister, St. Macrina, assumes the role of "teacher." The lively dialogue addresses many thorny issues- the nature of the soul, the condition of the soul after death, and the transmigration of the soul- and concludes with a position corresponding to the writings of the Apostle Paul. St. Gregory's adherence to Scripture in the context of his philosophical milieu provides contemporary readers with a superb example of Christianity encountering culture.
Translation by Catharine P. Roth.