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The writings of John Chrysostom contain many references to excrement and other kinds of refuse. This study collates the information he offers on urban sanitation and examines his rhetorical use of the language of filth. This aversive language occurs primarily not in his fulminations against Jews or Jewish-Christian interaction, but in his attacks on traditional Greco-Roman practices. He mobilizes disgust in order to deter his congregation from pursuing or admiring elite behaviors. Defilement is for him a moral category, but the power of his rhetoric springs directly from the brutal facts of urban waste that he details.