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Women and Men in the Early Church: The Full Views of St. John Chrysostom

David C. Ford

“This book demonstrates once and for all that the ancient Christian writers are not the hyper-misogynists they are made out to be by some hyper-feminists. This is careful textual analysis of the writings of John Chrysostom on all those passages relating to sexuality, marriage, family, children, chastity, equality, submission, leadership, adultery, virginity, and the body. Was there sexual intercourse in Eden? Was Eve primarily responsible for the Fall? Is sexuality intrinsically prone to distortion? Is the body evil? What reasonable objections may be lodged against absolute egalitarianism in the family? Is there a Christian doctrine of male submissiveness? Do women have a public role? How do women bring glory to men? What special responsibilities do men bear? Should women be priests? All of these questions were dealt with in considerable detail in the fourth century by John Chrysostom, the most influential biblical commentator in ancient Eastern Christianity. These same questions remain today for us to consider and debate. We can do so either without or with the wisdom of the ancient Christian writers. In Women and Men in the Early Church: The Full Views of St. John Chrysostom, David Ford has opened a broad window of access to these questions that has not been looked through before. Look through this window, I plead with you. Let the wisdom found there illumine present dilemmas of sexuality, family, and marriage. I pray that this book may become a means of grace to women and men seeking to embody the praise of God in their sexual and spiritual lives.”


Biographical Introduction
One: Differences Between Major Eastern and Western Church Fathers on Women and Sexuality
   Major Early Western Church Fathers on Human Sexuality
   Major Early Eastern Church Fathers on Human Sexuality
Two: St. John Chrysostom’s Theology of Marriage
   St. John Chrysostom’s General Theological/Spiritual Ethos
   Chrysostom’s Theology of Human Sexuality
   The Greatest Reason for Marriage
   Marital Chastity
   The Safe Harbor
   Welding Society Together
   A Christian Marriage
Three: On Marriage and Virginity
   St. John Chrysostom’s Early Views on Marriage and Virginity
   No Sexual Intercourse in Eden?
   Chrysostom’s Full Perspective on Marriage and Virginity
Four: St. John Chrysostom’s View of Women in General
   The Roles of Eve and Adam in the Fall
   Chrysostom’s Rhetoric, and His Negative Statements Concerning Women
   In Praise of Old Testament and New Testament Women
   Women of His Own Time
   Chrysostom’s Personal Relationships with Women
Five: Order in Creation and in the Godhead
   Order in Creation
   Order in the Human Body
   Order in the Human Person—Body and Soul
   Order in Human Society
   Order in One’s Personal Spiritual Life
   Order in the Godhead
Six: On the Interrelationship Between the Sexes: In Theory
   Equals with Differences
   Temporariness of the Differences
   “Equality Causes Strife”
   Male Headship Reflects the Order in the Godhead
   The Glory of Submission
   Submission for God’s Sake
   The Dangers of Having Authority
   Who Really Benefits the Most—Rulers or the Ruled?
Seven: The Relationship of the Sexes in the Family
   “Make Your Rule Glorious!”
   “The Wife is a Second Authority”
   Reciprocity in Submission
   A Wife’s Power Over Her Husband
   Limits to a Wife’s Submission
   A Wife’s Sphere of Endeavor
Eight: The Interrelationship of the Sexes in the Society at Large
   “The Ruler Is Not He Who Is So Called, But He Who Is Really So”
   Limits to Submission to Governmental Authorities
   A Public Role for Women?
Nine: The Interrelationship of the Sexes in the Church
   “The Good Shepherd Lays Down His Life for His Sheep”
   A Counselor, Not a Despot
   “Partners in His Power”
   The Clergy’s Dependency Upon the Laity
   Limits to Submission
   General Roles of Women in the Church
   Widows and Virgins
   The Role of Women During Church Services
   Should Women Be Priests?
Ten: Conclusions
Works Cited

Item Number: BKST115
Publication Data: South Canaan, PA: St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1996
Format: softcover
Number of Pages: xviii + 265
Dimensions (l × w × h): 22.9 cm × 15.3 cm × 1.7 cm
ISBN: 1‒878997‒55‒6

$21.95 (USD)


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