Ambrose and John Chrysostom

Ambrose and John Chrysostom : Clerics Between Desert and Empire


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J. H. W. G. Liebeschuetz compares the personalities and the respective careers of two of the greatest of the early Christian Fathers, Ambrose and John Chrysostom. While the statesmanlike Ambrose ended his life as a pillar of the Western establishment, Chrysostom, the outspoken idealist, died in exile. However, their views and ideals were remarakably similar: both bishops were concerned with the social role of the Church, both were determined opponents of what they called the Arian heresy, and each attracted a dedicated following among his urban congregation. This similarity, Liebeschuetz argues, was due not to the influence of one on the other, but was a consequence of their participation in a Christian culture which spanned the divide between the Eastern (later Byzantine) and Western parts of the Roman Empire. The monastic movement figures throughout the book as an important influence on both men and as perhaps the most dynamic development in the Christian culture of the fourth century.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 142 x 220 x 28mm | 480.81g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New.
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0199596646
  • 9780199596645
  • 1,444,863

About J. H. W. G. Liebeschuetz

J. H. W. G. Liebeschuetz is Professor Emeritus, University of Nottingham.

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Review quote

This book contributes to current scholarship on bishops in Late Antiquity. L. convincingly argues that these two famous Church Fathers were products of their times in their asceticism, their advice for laypeople, and their complex relationships with imperial authorities. Jaclyn Maxwell, Journal of Roman Studies

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Table of contents

Introduction ; I. BACKGROUND AND FORERUNNERS ; 1. The classical roots of Christian asceticism ; 2. The classical roots of Christian outspokenness ; II. AMBROSE ; 3. Ambrose, writer and preacher ; 4. Early thoughts of Ambrose on the position of the emperor and the duties of the clergy ; 5. Ambrose in action ; III. CHRYSOSTOM ; 6. Asceticism in Syria and Mesopotamia ; 7. The sources for the early life of Chrysostom ; 8. The early life of Chrysostom ; 9. Chrysostom: early writings ; 10. Chrysostom, from monk to priest: the De sacerdotio ; 11. Chrysostom preaches on women and marriage ; 12. Chrysostom, priest and teacher: asceticism for all ; 13. Chrysostom's attitude to the classical city ; 14. Chrysostom's views on Church and State ; 15. Chrysostom's relations with the imperial court ; IV. CONCLUSION ; 16. Ambrose and Chrysostom compared ; 17. The influence of Ambrose and Chrysostom

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