Nemesios of Emesa

Bishop of Emesa ([Homs], late 4th - early 5th century) in Syria. A learned prelate for whom little is known. He is probably identical with the provincial governor of Cappadocia (between 383 and 389) to whom  Gregory of Nazianzus sent three letters  (in 385) and a poem, inviting him to convert to Christianity. Flourished around 340-400, baptized by 390, he is known by his philosophical work entitled On the Nature of Man (De natura hominis). Written in all probability in the last decade of the 4th century, it could be characterized as the epitome of Christian anthropology. Based on the eclectic assimilation of the wisdom of Antiquity, Nemesius combined, in a synthetic way not clearly advanced before him, medicinal, philosophical and theological approaches on the nature of mankind following the syncretic spirit of his time. Familiar with pagan philosophy, having an excellent knowledge of medical science, Nemesius acquired his extensive education probably outside an ecclesiastical environment, as it is proved by the adoption of heterodox doctrines (e.g., the "Preexistence" of the Soul). His work was widely influential in both East and West. Maximus the Confessor (7th c.) was the first who namely mentioned him.


Other names - versions: 
Nεμέσιος Ἐμέσης, Nemesius Bishop of Emesa, Némésius d'Émèse, Nemesius von Emesa
Date and Place of Birth: 
Date and Place of Death: 

W. Telfer (ed.), Cyril of Jerusalem and Nemesius of Emesa, Philadelphia 1955 especially 250 sq.

L. Brisson, “Nemesius”, Brill’s New Pauly. Antiquity, H. Cancik - H. Schneiders (eds), Brill Online:


S. P. Bergian, “Nemesius of Emesa”, Religion Past and Present, Brill Online: http: of-emesa-SIM_024051>.

B. Motta, “Nemesius of Emesa”, P. G. Lloyd (ed.) The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity, vol. I, Cambridge 2010 509-519 and related bibliography 1093-1094.

A. P. Kazhdan (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, New York -Oxford 1991 1452-1453.

H. Wace, A Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century, London 1911 1211.

D. Amann, “Némésius d'Émèse”, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique II, Paris 1931 cols 62-67.

V. Valdenberg, “La philosophie byzantine aux IV-V siècles”, Byzantion 4 (1927/28) 236-268.

G. Verbeke, “Foi et culture chez Némésius d'Émèse”, G. Lazzati- R. Cantalamessa – L. F. Pizzolato (eds.) Paradoxos Politeia. Studi patristici in onore di Giuseppe Lazzati, Milan 1979 507-531.