Christianization and Communication in Late Antiquity: John Chrysostom and his Congregation in Antioch
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How did ordinary people and Church authorities communicate with each other in late antiquity and how did this interaction affect the processes of Christianization in the Roman Empire? By studying the relationship between the preacher and his congregation within the context of classical, urban traditions of public speaking, this book explains some of the reasons for the popularity of Christian sermons during the period. Its focus on John Chrysostom's sermons allows us to see how an educated church leader responded to and was influenced by a congregation of ordinary Christians. As a preacher in Antioch, Chrysostom took great care to convey his lessons to his congregation, which included a broad cross-section of society. Because of this, his sermons provide a fascinating view into the variety of beliefs held by the laity, demonstrating that many people could be actively engaged in their religion while disagreeing with their preacher.
Christians “stole” John Chrysostom, HE 8.2.  On chairs as attributes of philosophers, see Zanker, Mask of Socrates, 118. Libanius refers to another student who became a rhetoric teacher as having a “thronos” in Ep. 1048.  Basil, Ep. 176, written in 374. Cf. Amphilochius’ Hom. 8, where he was invited to speak somewhere else, probably at Basil’s. See Datema’s introduction to the text, xix.  Libanius, Ep. 1543. For additional evidence of philosophers and other
concerns underline the common ground of the legal advocate and actor, the courtroom and theater – not to mention the preacher’s pulpit and the orator’s bema. The advocate’s skill stemmed from the same training as that of the competitor in panegyric contests. In fact, the two could have been the same men at different stages in their careers, or merely on different days. Among the careers that Libanius’ students followed after completing their education, there were many legal advocates among
4.9 (SC 272.278–89).  Hom. in Mt. 1.7 (PG 57.22); De stat. 9.1 (PG 49.103); Hom. in Gen. 45.1 (PG 54.414).  Hom. in Gen. 28.1 (PG 53.252).  Hom. in Gen. 19.4 (PG 53.164).  Hom. in Mt. 1.7 (PG 57.22).  De stat. 9.2 (PG 49.104–5). Cf. the exhortation to share their knowledge in public, De incomp. 10.1 (PG 48.785).  Hom. in Mt. 1.5 (PG 57.20).  It is likely that Chrysostom was also thinking of himself as the wise teacher when he spoke
developed in different contexts. Footnotes  R. A. Markus, “How on Earth could Places become Holy? Origins of the Christian Idea of Holy Places,” JECS 2.3 (1994) 257–71; B. Caseau, “Sacred Landscapes” in Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World, G. W. Bowersock, P. Brown, and O. Grabar, eds. (Cambridge, MA, 1999) 21–59; P. Brown, The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (Chicago, 1981); R. A. Markus, The End of Ancient Christianity (Cambridge,
prayer of the monks in the nearby wilderness, and dictated it to his audience verse by verse. Prayer was a good practice in itself, and could also help focus people’s minds on avoiding habitual sins. In response to the laity’s straightforward excuse for blasphemy – they claimed that they could not keep silent when suddenly distressed – he insisted that they could cry out in prayer instead. Although the bad words seemed to come out spontaneously, Chrysostom told his listeners to bite their