Fortress Press

Abraham in the Works of John Chrysostom

Abraham in the Works of John Chrysostom

Demetrios E. Tonias (Author)

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Demetrios Tonias's Abraham in the Works of John Chrysostom is the first comprehensive examination of John Chrysostom's view of the patriarch Abraham. By analyzing the full range of references to Abraham in Chrysostom's work, Tonias reveals the ways in which Chrysostom used Abraham as a model of philosophical and Christian virtue, familial devotion, philanthropy, and obedient faith.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9781451473056
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 226
  • Emerging Scholars category Christian History
  • Publication Date March 1, 2014


1. Literary, Rhetorical, and Exegetical Influences
2. Abraham’s Virtue
3. Abraham’s Pastoral Significance
4. Abraham’s Exegetical and Theological Significance
5. Abraham in Chrysostom’s View of Jews and Judaism
6. De beato Abraham: An Authentic Homily of John Chrysostom
Appendix A. English Translation of De beato Abraham
Appendix B. Comparison of De beato Abraham to Chrysostomic Texts


"In this first comprehensive study of how the figure of Abraham functioned thematically for John Chrysostom, Demetrios E. Tonias paints a vivid portrait of the 'golden-mouthed' orator and the rhetorical world in which he lived. Chrysostom praises Abraham as a superlative model of virtue whom he encourages Christians to emulate as one of their own. Threatened by rival Jewish claims, Chrysostom also argues that Jews had forsaken their Abrahamic inheritance by failing to accept Christianity as the fulfillment of the promise God made to the patriarch to be the father of many nations. While insightfully and sympathetically presenting Chrysostom’s pastoral brilliance, this volume simultaneously provides an invaluable window into the origins of Christian supersessionism in both the East and the West."
—Philip A. Cunningham, 
Saint Joseph’s University

“This fine work of scholarship adds to the growing body of work on St. John Chrysostom’s exegesis of the Old Testament, and in particular his presentation of the patriarchs and prophets. It is of especial interest in today’s world where the patriarch Abraham is coming to be seen as a religious figure common to all the great ‘Abrahamic faiths’: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.”
Andrew Louth
Durham University
"Demetrios E. Tonias' study affirms the latest approach to Chrysostom, as a preacher whose secular oratorical and philosophical training shape his promotion of Christian virtue. It draws attention to the neglect of the role of Old Testament figures in Chrysostom's theology, foregrounds Abraham in his thought, and rounds out the attention paid to Paul as exemplar in the magisterial work of Margaret Mitchell, Andreas Heiser, and David Rylaarsdam. Tonias’ restoration of a disputed homily to Chrysostom’s rich body of work is equally significant. An important addition to scholarship on both Chrysostom and the reception of the Old Testament.'
Wendy Mayer
Australian Catholic University
"Written in a lucid language, this profound and precise study discusses major themes in the history of ancient Christian exegesis and homiletic tradition, as well as John Chrysostom's place in them. It is a must-read for students and scholars of early Christianity, Late Antiquity, ancient rhetoric, and patristic studies."
Hagit Amirav
VU University Amsterdam