Abstract

Ancient philosophers differed on whether grief was truly an emotion, based in cognitive assessment, or simply a sensation, linked to other pathologies of the body, but its undeniable intensity provoked continuing comment. Over the course of his career, John Chrysostom returned repeatedly to the topic of despondency, often describing it in strongly medical terms as either a symptom or a remedy for an underlying pathology. This essay explores the medical basis of this imagery and argues that these two quite different ways of characterizing grief are united by the preacher’s fundamentally ascetic orientation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1942-1273
Print ISSN
1939-6716
Pages
pp. 368-385
Launched on MUSE
2015-12-23
Open Access
No
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