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Christianization and Communication in Late Antiquity

Christianization and Communication in Late Antiquity
John Chrysostom and his Congregation in Antioch


  • Date Published: July 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521117715

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Offers a new and important approach to the 'Christianization' of the Roman Empire in late antiquity
    • Examines John Chrysostom's sermons in their wider social context
    • Integrates the study of early Christian sermons into the traditions of urban, public speaking in the Roman world
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Maxwell's book provides a most welcome focus on Chrysostom as preacher in Antioch and makes a valuable contribution to understanding the interaction between the preacher and his diverse audience in the Syrian metropolis in the 380s and 390s. … The book is well organized and clearly written, fitting of the skill Chrysostom himself developed in communicating with a diverse audience. … This book contributes admirably to providing an alternative and practical portrait of Christian life in the late fourth century …' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    '[Maxwell's] book provides a very useful and stimulating step towards understanding preaching as a form of communication …' Journal of Hellenic Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521117715
    • length: 212 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of abbreviations
    1. Philosophical preaching in the Roman world
    2. Rhetoric and society: contexts of public speaking in late antique Antioch
    3. John Chrysostom's congregation in Antioch
    4. Teaching to the converted: John Chrysostom's pedagogy
    5. Practical knowledge and religious life
    6. Habits and the Christianization of daily life

  • Author

    Jaclyn L. Maxwell, Ohio University
    Jaclyn Maxwell is Assistant Professor in the Departments of History and Classics and World Religions at Ohio University. She studied at Princeton University and in 2002/3 held an Andrew J. Mellon Research Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the American Council of Learned Societies.

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