The Priestly Body: Power-Discourse and Identity in John Chrysostom’s De Sacerdotio

in Religion and Theology
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Abstract

This paper approaches John Chrysostom’s De Sacerdotio from the perspective of body/power/identity. It identifies five power-discourses active in the text. Firstly, the discourse of hierarchy is present. The office of the priest ranks with the angels. Secondly, the priest is represented as disciplinarian and psychagogue, an enforcer of state and ecclesiastical policy in the process of making docile bodies. In the third instance, much attention is given to the disruptive others – those people who complicate the life and duty of the priest. Fourthly, the notion of andronormativity and normality is discussed, since gender is an important feature in De Sacerdotio. Finally, the relevance and effect of the priest as orator is extrapolated. The study concludes by asking how these discourses also shape the way Chrysostom thinks about himself and the sacerdotal office.

The Priestly Body: Power-Discourse and Identity in John Chrysostom’s De Sacerdotio

in Religion and Theology

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References

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2

M. FoucaultPower/Knowledge: Selected Interviews & Other Writings 1972–1977 (C. Gordon (ed.); New York: Pantheon1980) 198–99.

5

H. WhiteTropics of Discourse (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press1978) 51–100.

6

M. FoucaultThe History of Sexuality: The Care of the Self (Vol. 3; R. Hurley (trans.); New York: Random House1986) 37–68; P. Veyne Foucault: His Thought His Character (J. Lloyd (trans.); Cambridge: Polity 2010) 5–15.

7

M. FoucaultThe Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language (A. M. Sheridan Smith (trans.); London: Tavistock1972) 31–39.

8

FoucaultArchaeology of Knowledge21–78; cf. G. Danaher T. Schirato and J. Webb Understanding Foucault (London: Sage 2000) 116–31.

10

J. H. W. G. LiebeschuetzAmbrose and John Chrysostom: Clerics between Desert and Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press2011) 168–69.

11

H. R. DrobnerThe Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction (Peabody: Hendrickson2007) 333–34; J. N. D. Kelly Golden Mouth: The Story of John Chrysostom – Ascetic Preacher Bishop (New York: Cornell University Press 1995) 83–84.

12

W. Mayer and P. AllenJohn Chrysostom (The Early Church Fathers; London: Routledge1999) 5–11.

14

M. Foucault“Technologies of the Self,” in Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault (L. H. Martin, H. Gutman, and P. H. Hutton (eds.); Boston: University of Massachusetts Press1988) 23–31.

15

FoucaultArchaeology of Knowledge21–39.

16

FoucaultArchaeology of Knowledge21–78.

18

ChrysostomHom. in Matt. 68.3; this notion of angelic bodies with priests bishops and monks would develop even more in the following centuries; cf. K. A. Smith “An Angel’s Power in a Bishop’s Body: the Making of the Cult of Aubert of Avranches at Mont-Saint-Michel” Journal of Medieval History 29 no. 4 (2003): 347–360; L. L. Coon Dark Age Bodies: Gender and Monastic Practice in the Early Medieval West (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 2010).

20

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21

P. R. L. BrownThe Body and Society: Men Women & Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity (New York: Columbia University Press1988) 305–22.

23

C. RappHoly Bishops in Late Antiquity: The Nature of Christian Leadership in an Age of Transition (Berkeley: University of California Press2005) 46.

24

J. Quasten“Mysterium Tremendum: Eucharistische Frömmigkeitsauffassungen des Vierten Jahrhunderts,” in Vom Christlichen Mysterium: Gesammelte Arbeiten zum Gedächtnis von Odo Casel OSB (A. Mayer J. Quasten and B. Neunheuser (eds.); Dusseldorf 1951) 66–75.

25

Quasten“Mysterium Tremendum” 66–75.

26

C. L. De Wet“John Chrysostom on Envy,” Studia Patristica 47 (2010): 255–60.

27

RappHoly Bishops243; P. G. Alves de Sousa El Sacerdocio Ministerial en los Libros de Sacerdotio de San Juan Crisóstomo (Pamplona: Ediciones Universidad de Navarra 1975) 180–221.

28

G. FowdenEmpire to Commonwealth: Consequences of Monotheism in Late Antiquity (Princeton: Princeton University Press1993).

29

N. Lenski“Introduction: Power and Religion on the Frontier of Late Antiquity,” in The Power of Religion in Late Antiquity(A. Cain and N. Lenski (eds.); Surrey: Ashgate2009) 5.

30

S. R. Huebner“Currencies of Power: The Venality of Offices in the Later Roman Empire,” in The Power of Religion in Late Antiquity (A. Cain and N. Lenski (eds.); Surrey: Ashgate2009) 167–80.

31

Huebner“Currencies of Power” 172.

32

Alves de SousaEl Sacerdocio Ministerial180–221.

34

J. Stephens“Religion and Power in the Early Thought of John Chrysostom,” in The Power of Religion in Late Antiquity (A. Cain and N. Lenski (eds.); Surrey: Ashgate2009) 181–88; J. Stephens Ecclesiastical and Imperial Authority in the Writings of John Chrysostom: A Reinterpretation of His Political Philosophy (Ph.D. Diss.; Santa Barbara: University of California 2001).

38

E. PatlageanPauvreté économique et pauvreté sociale à Byzance: 4e – 7e siècles (Paris: Mouton1977); P. R. L. Brown Poverty and Leadership in the Later Roman Empire (London: University Press of New England 2002) 1–11.

39

K. Cooper“Poverty, Obligation and Inheritance: Roman Heiresses and the Varieties of Senatorial Christianity in Fifth-Century Rome,” in Religion Dynasty and Patronage in Early Christian Rome 300–900 (K. Cooper and J. Hillner (eds.); Cambridge: Cambridge University Press2007) 165–89.

41

M. Foucault “25 January 1978” in Security Territory and Population: Lectures at the Collège de France 1977–1978 (M. Senellart (ed.); G. Burchell (trans.); New York: Picador 2007) 55–86.

43

M. De CerteauThe Practice of Everyday Life (S. Rendall (trans.); Berkeley: University of California Press1984) 131–53; cf. W. Braun “Rhetoric Rhetoricality and Discourse Performances” in Rhetoric and Reality in Early Christianities (W. Braun (ed.); Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press 2005) 3.

44

M. FoucaultDiscipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison (A. Sheridan (trans.); New York: Random House1977) 135–94.

45

BrownBody and Society312–17; A. Monaci Castagno “Paideia Classica ed Esercizio Pastorale nel IV Secolo” Rivista di Storia e Letteratura Religiosa 26 (1990): 429–59.

47

FoucaultBirth of the Prison136–40.

49

MaxwellChristianization and Communication89.

52

Cf. ChrysostomHom. in Ep. I Tim. 6.1.

54

F. NietzscheThe Gay Science (W. Kaufmann (trans.); New York: Random House1974) 74.

55

FoucaultPower/Knowledge104.

56

Danaher Schirato and WebbUnderstanding Foucault98.

57

J. W. KnustAbandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander & Ancient Christianity (New York: Columbia University Press2006) 19–20.

58

KnustAbandoned to Lust32–33.

62

MaxwellChristianization and Communication84–86.

65

H. N. Parker“The Teratogenic Grid,” in Roman Sexualities (J. P. Hallett and M. B. Skinner (eds.); Princeton: Princeton University Press1997) 47–65.

66

M. FoucaultThe History of Sexuality: An Introduction (Vol. 1; R. Hurley (trans.); New York: Random House1978) 75–103.

67

M. DouglasPurity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (New York: Routledge1984) 27.

68

LiebeschuetzAmbrose and John Chrysostom177–78; C. L. De Wet “Husbands Wives and the Haustafeln in John Chrysostom’s Homilia in Epistulam ad Ephesios 20” Acta Patristica et Byzantina 21 no. 2 (2010): 51–62.

69

E. A. Clark“Ideology, History and the Construction of ‘Woman’ in Late Ancient Christianity,” in A Feminist Companion to Patristic Literature (A.-J. Levine and M. M. Robbins (eds.); London: T&T Clark2008) 111.

70

Leyerle“John Chrysostom on the Gaze” 159–74.

71

C. Osiek“The Patronage of Women in Early Christianity,” in A Feminist Companion to Patristic Literature (A.-J. Levine and M. M. Robbins (eds.); London: T&T Clark2008) 173–92.

72

Cooper“Poverty Obligation and Inheritance” 165–89.

74

E. A. Clark“Patrons, not Priests: Gender and Power in Late Antiquity,” Gender & History 2 (1990): 253–73.

76

E. M. Walsh“Wealthy and Impoverished Widows in the Writings of St John Chrysostom,” in Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society (S. R. Holman (ed.); Grand Rapids: Baker Academic2008) 181.

77

V. BurrusSaving Shame: Martyrs Saints and Other Abject Subjects (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press2008) 91–92.

78

GlancyCorporal Knowledge64 109–10.

79

D. F. Winslow“Priesthood and Sexuality in the Post-Nicene Fathers,” Saint Luke’s Journal of Theology 18no. 4 (1975): 352–65.

80

W. Braun“Virgins, Eunuchs, Empire,” Acta Patristica et Byzantina 21 no. 2 (2010): 19–38.

81

Braun“Virgins Eunuchs Empire” 20; Brown Body and Society.

82

E. A. ClarkJerome Chrysostom and Friends: Essays and Translations (London: Edwin Mellen1974) 1–34; E. A. Clark “Sexual Politics in the Writings of John Chrysostom” Anglican Theological Review 59 (1977): 3–20.

83

M. FoucaultMadness and Civilization (R. Howard (trans.); London: Routledge1961) 35–60.

84

Braun“Virgins Eunuchs Empire” 23.

86

P. R. L. BrownPower and Persuasion in Late Antiquity (Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press1992) 74.

87

W. Mayer“John Chrysostom: Extraordinary Preacher, Ordinary Audience,” in Preacher and Audience: Studies in Early Christian and Byzantine Homiletics (M. B. Cunningham and P. Allen (eds.); Leiden: Brill1998) 105–38.

88

SandwellReligious Identity63–73.

89

MaxwellChristianization and Communication88–108.

91

MaxwellChristianization and Communication118–68.

92

De CerteauPractice of Everyday Life154–64.

94

MaxwellChristianization and Communication88–117.

99

GlancyCorporal Knowledge98.

101

Danaher Schirato and WebbUnderstanding Foucault116–132.

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