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On the Human Condition


This informative and enjoyable volume serves as a valuable introduction to major themes in Greek Patristic anthropology—the image of God in the human form, the Fall of humanity, and the cause of evil—and brings together the main writings of St. Basil the Great, fourth-century archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, on these subjects. St. Basil deftly addresses the questions posed by the human condition with characteristic clarity and sobriety. He formulates a balance between humility grounded in our creation from the earth and confidence based on the dignity of being created according to God’s image.

In addition to two discourses on the creation of humanity, this volume includes Letter 233 to Amphilochius of Iconium, St. Basil’s spiritual son. It is a succinct and pointed discussion regarding the functions of the human mind, the activity for which God created it, and how it can be used for good, evil, or morally neutral purposes. This letter complements the discussion of emotions in St. Basil’s “Homily against Anger,” also included in this volume.

Finally, the book includes excerpts from St Basil’s fatherly instructions to his ascetic communities, commonly known as the “Long Rules” or the “Great Asceticon,” which emphasize the communal dimension of human identity: humans are naturally interrelated, social, and interdependent.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Discusses the main themes of anthropology with St. Basil the Great as a guide
  • Delves into the human mind and how God intended for us to use it
  • Examines ideas set forth in the early church and how they still apply


  • First Homily
    • On the Origin of Humanity, Discourse 1: On That Which Is According to the Image
  • Second Homily
    • On the Origin of Humanity, Discourse 2: On the Human Being
  • Homily Explaining That God Is Not the Cause of Evil
  • Homily against Anger
  • Homily on the Words “Be Attentive to Yourself“
  • Letter 233, to Bishop Amphilochius, Who Has Asked a Question
  • Long Rules, Selections

Product Details

About Basil of Caesarea

Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great, (330 – January 1, 379) was the bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor. He was an influential 4th century Christian theologian and monastic. Theologically, Basil was a supporter of the Nicene faction of the church, in opposition to Arianism on one side and the followers of Apollinaris of Laodicea on the other.

About Nonna Verna Harrison

Nonna Verna Harrison is assistant professor of church history at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. Among the numerous theological articles she has authored is “Human Uniqueness and Human Unity,” in Abba: The Tradition of Orthodoxy in the West.