Chrysostom as Exegete

Scholarly Traditions and Rhetorical Aims in the Homilies on Genesis


Author: Samuel Pomeroy
To what extent and to what purposes did John Chrysostom engage previous models of Biblical exegesis? In this systematic study of his Homilies on Genesis, new light is shed on the precision of his adaption of works by Basil, Origen, Eusebius of Emesa, and Eusebius of Caesarea, findings set against a wider ‘web’ of parallels with various other exegetes (e.g. Ephrem, Diodore, Didymus). The cumulative picture is a network of shared knowledge across geographical and ecclesial boundaries which served as creative cache for Chrysostom’s discourses. With the metaphors of textual obscurity and word-depth, he prioritized name and word interpretations as a means of producing multiple layers of ethical evaluation.

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Samuel Pomeroy, Ph.D (2019), University of Leuven, is an Alexander von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Researcher at WWU Münster, working in the Forschungsstelle Origenes.
Note on the Text of Chrysostom’s Homilies on Genesis in the Patrologia Graeca

Part 1 Integrating Tradition and Rhetoric

1 Introduction: Integrating Tradition and Rhetoric
 1  Goals, Techniques, and Tools in Ancient Literary Scholarship
 2  Developments in Patristic Exegetical Traditions
 3  Questions-and-Answers and Genesis Exegesis
 4  Chrysostom’s Homilies on Genesis and Patristic Exegetical Traditions

2 The Homilies on Genesis, Old Testament Interpretation, and the Rhetoric of Obscurity
 1  The Homilies on Genesis in Recent Scholarship
 2  Provenance and Pedagogy of the Homilies on Genesis
 3  Commentary and Obscurity in Late Antiquity
 4  The Rhetoric of Obscurity in Antiochene Works
 5  The Rhetoric of Obscurity in the Homilies on Genesis
 6  Case Study: Homily 37 on Genesis
 7  Conclusion

3 Questions and Answers in Tradition and Practice
 1  Disputing Exegetical Questions in Other Christian Homilies
 2  Posing Questions in the Homilies on Genesis
 3  Variant Question Formulas
 4  Providing Answers
 5  Case Study: Homily 29 on Genesis
 6  Conclusion

4 Grammar and Linguistic Analysis in Rhetorical Context
 1  Glossing
 2  Habits of Scripture
 3  Onomastic Interpretation
 4  Conclusion

Part 2 Engaging Exegetical Sources

5 John Chrysostom among the Antiochenes
 1  Variant Readings
 2  Describing Natural Phenomena or Objects in the Bible
 3  Narrative Coherence
 4  Departures from Eusebius and Diodore
 5  Disagreements with Eusebius or Diodore
 6  Parallels to Ephrem
 7  Conclusion

6 John Chrysostom and Basil of Caesarea
 1  Letter 260
 2  Homily 1 on Fasting
 3  Homilies on the Six Day Creation
 4  Conclusion

7 John Chrysostom and Eusebius of Caesarea
 1  Typology
 2  Theophanies
 3  Conclusion

8 John Chrysostom among the Alexandrians
 1  Elucidations of Biblical Texts
 2  Exegetical Discussion
 3  Anthropological and Philosophical Argumentation
 4  Typology
 5  Testimonia Collections
 6  Conclusion

 1  Asking Exegetical Questions to Defamiliarize
 2  Selecting and Modifying Exegetical Traditions for ‘Symphonia’
 3  Creating Non-literal Readings from Traditions of Name-and Word-Depth Study
 4  Antiochene Debates about Non-literal Interpretations

Appendix 1: Occurrences of Ζήτημα and Ἀπορία in the Homilies on Genesis
Appendix 2: Sample Biblical Noun Glosses According to ‘Habit’ in Late Antique Christian Authors
Manuscripts Mentioned
Index of Greek Words
Index of Biblical Citations
Index of Ancient Literature
Index of Modern Authors
Index of Subjects
The intended readership of this book is students and professors of ancient Biblical exegesis, particularly those interested in Alexandrian and Antiochene schools. Additionally, scholars of John Chrysostom seeking to gain a contextual perspective on his Biblical learning will benefit.