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Christianization and Communication in Late Antiquity

Christianization and Communication in Late Antiquity

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Jaclyn L. Maxwell
Cambridge University Press, 19/10/2006
EAN 9780521860406, ISBN10: 0521860407

Hardcover, 210 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 2.1 cm

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.

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