Discourses against Judaizing Christians

By Saint John Chrysostom; Paul W. Harkins | Go to book overview

DISCOURSE VI

Although he had delivered a long homily against the Jews on the previous day, and had become hoarse from the length of his Sermon, he now delivered the following discourse.

WILD BEASTS ARE less savage and fierce [903] as long they live in the forests and have had no experience fighting against men. But when the hunters capture them, they drag them into the cities, lock them in cages, and goad them on to do battle with beast-fighting gladiators. Then the beasts spring upon their prey, taste human flesh and drink human blood. After that, they would find it no easy task to keep away from such a feast but they avidly rush to this bloody banquet. 1

(2) This has been my experience, too. Once I took up my fight against the Jews and rushed to meet their shameless assaults, "I destroyed their reasoning and every lofty thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and I brought their minds into captivity to the obedience of Christ." 2 And after that I somehow acquired

____________________
1
It is a truism that a captured beast after tasting a man's flesh becomes more blood-thirsty for human victims. As Chrysostom develops the analogy, he becomes the blood-thirsty beast and the Jews his human victims. His rhetoric is odd and hardly in the best taste by today's standards.
2
Cf. 2 Cor 10.4-5. Confr. note sees Paul's weapon as faith, which is above reason; everything opposing faith is wrong and must be set aside or destroyed. J. O'Rourke, JBC 52:33, sees the destruction of reasoning as the refutation of fallacious arguments raised against Paul's teaching. Knowledge of God is belief in and service of God. The minds, in the Pauline text, are the minds of those who think rightly and are taken captive because they bow to God's higher power through faith and submission to what Christ wills. For Chrysostom, as for Paul, preaching the word of God is a warfare

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