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Abraham in the Works of John Chrysostom

By Demetrios E. Tonias

Publication Year: 2014

Throughout its first three centuries of existence, the Christian community, while new to the Roman world’s pluralistic religious scene, portrayed itself as an historic religion. The early church community claimed the Jewish Bible as their own and looked to it to defend their claims to historicity. While Jews looked to Moses and the Sinai covenant as the focus of their historical relationship with God, the early church fathers and apologists identified themselves as inheritors of the promise given to Abraham and saw their mission to the Gentiles as the fulfillment of God’s declaration that Abraham would be “a father of many nations” (Gen 17:5).M

It is in light of this background that Demetrios Tonias undertakes the first, comprehensive examination of John Chrysostom’s view of the patriarch Abraham.

By analyzing the full range of references to Abraham in Chrysostom’s work, Tonias reveals the ways in which Chrysostom used Abraham as a model of philosophical and Christian virtue, familial devotion, philanthropy, and obedient faith.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-

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Acknowledgements

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pp. ix-xi

There were a number of individuals who offered both their assistance and encouragement throughout the preparation of this present work. Every doctoral student needs a guide and a mentor, and Dr. Ruth Langer of Boston College was just that to me throughout my studies at Boston College, in general, and during my preparation...

Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

Throughout its first three centuries of existence, the Christian community, while new to the Roman world’s pluralistic religious scene, portrayed itself as a historic religion. The early church community claimed the Jewish Bible as their own and looked to it to defend their claims to historicity. While Jews looked to Moses and the Sinai covenant as the focus...

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1. Literary, Rhetorical, and Exegetical Influences

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pp. 11-46

John Chrysostom received a classical education as a young man and by all accounts excelled in that education.1 As a student, John was formed in a program of Greek classical education that, as J. N. D. Kelly observes, had scarcely undergone any serious modification since the fourth century before Christ.”2 Although John later became...

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2. Abraham’s Virtue

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pp. 47-80

In classical thought, virtue was not an abstract concept but was rather an identifiable and quantifiable human characteristic that was defined by discrete categories. The Christian theological or Pauline virtues expanded upon the classical categories without displacing them. Sophistic oratory was used by pre- Christian orators to transform their students...

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3. Abraham’s Pastoral Significance

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pp. 81-102

The Antiochene method, as presented above, was eminently concerned with the impact scriptural exegesis had on the day-to-day lives of Christians. The practical nature of their interpretive method necessitated a real-life application for the Christians who read, or more likely, heard these exegetical formulations. Chrysostom’s principal...

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4. Abraham’s Exegetical and Theological Significance

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pp. 103-130

In the previous chapter, we discussed John’s pastoral understanding of the ways in which Christians should emulate Abraham. In this chapter, we will examine John’s theological explanations concerning the results and benefits of such emulation. In this regard, one must be wary of drawing too fine a distinction between John...

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5. Abraham in Chrysostom’s View of Jews and Judaism

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pp. 131-154

Chrysostom was neither the first nor certainly the last Christian exegete to use Abraham in shaping his view of Jews and Judaism.1 Notwithstanding the pastoral and theological importance that Chrysostom attributed to key scriptural events such as the hospitality and the akedah, for him the relationship of Christians to the Abrahamic...

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6. De beato Abraham: An Authentic Homily of John Chrysostom

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pp. 155-176

As I mentioned at the outset, one of the challenges associated with the examination of Chrysostom’s treatment of Abraham is the lack of a single homily or series of homilies on the patriarch. While one can argue that Chrysostom’s references to Abraham in his commentaries encompassing Genesis 12–25 essentially constitute...

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Conclusion

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pp. 177-186

The primary goal of this investigation has been to examine the ways in which John Chrysostom made reference to the patriarch Abraham as part of his homiletical discourse in order to determine the Antiochene father’s rhetorical, pastoral, and theological conception and applications of the Old Testament patriarch. Although, at first glance...

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Appendix A

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pp. 187-196

I. [737] Do you see the vigorous gray hair and the ripe old age? Do you see the noble athlete take a battle stance toward nature and heart? Do you see a man in extreme old age hard as steel? While the tone of his flesh has become slack, the tone of his faith has become muscular—for such are the achievements of the Church...

Appendix B

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pp. 197-204

Bibliography

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pp. 205-220

Index

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pp. 221-223


E-ISBN-13: 9781451479737
E-ISBN-10: 1451479735
Print-ISBN-13: 9781451473056
Print-ISBN-10: 1451473052

Page Count: 226
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Emerging Scholars
Series Editor Byline: