By Demetrios E. Tonias

All through its first 3 centuries of lifestyles, the Christian neighborhood, whereas new to the Roman world's pluralistic spiritual scene, portrayed itself as an historical faith. The early church group claimed the Jewish Bible as their very own and regarded to it to guard their claims to historicity. whereas Jews appeared to Moses and the Sinai covenant because the concentration in their ancient courting with God, the early church fathers and apologists pointed out themselves as inheritors of the promise given to Abraham and observed their project to the Gentiles because the success of God's assertion that Abraham will be "a father of many countries" (Gen 17:5).

It is in gentle of this historical past that Demetrios Tonias undertakes the 1st, accomplished exam of John Chrysostom's view of the patriarch Abraham.

By interpreting the total variety of references to Abraham in Chrysostom's paintings, Tonias finds the ways that Chrysostom used Abraham as a version of philosophical and Christian advantage, familial devotion, philanthropy, and obedient religion.

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Chrysostom, akin to Julian, longed for a unified religious identity albeit an identity that was thoroughly Christian. Libanius’s sophistic method, which wedded religious and civic life with rhetoric, had a profound influence on Chrysostom—one that John acknowledges. 43 The education derived from his 42. Isabella Sandwell, Religious Identity in Late Antiquity: Greeks, Jews, and Christians in Antioch (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 163. 24 | Abraham in the Works of John Chrysostom mother’s monetary investment helped form Chrysostom’s rhetorical style of persuasion and, perhaps more importantly, his understanding of how that rhetoric could be applied in order to advance his own particular civic and moral ethos.

6. Pauline Influence It is indeed an understatement to say that Chrysostom held the Apostle Paul in high regard. ”58 The effusive praise that Chrysostom heaped upon the Apostle Paul was similar to the praise he afforded Abraham or any other prominent scriptural exemplar. ”59 55. 436. Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis, 3:29. 56. Ibid. Hill, referencing De Montfaucon, notes that Chrysostom’s conclusion is similar to that of his teacher, Diodore. 57. Chrysostom at times indicated his ignorance of the original language of the Old Testament text, saying, “Those who have a precise knowledge of the [Hebrew] language say .

77 With regard to the latter, Chrysostom, like the Christian apologists before him, was faced with the added task of laying claim to a scriptural text and narrative that Jews had historically called their own. In such a religiously diverse 74. Didache 1:1. 75. Sandwell, Religious Identity in Late Antiquity: Greeks, Jews, and Christians in Antioch, 5. 76. Sandwell gives the example of Tertullian who, in his De Idolatria, describes “appropriate Christian behavior through comparison with what he defined as idolatry or the behavior of the Gentiles.

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