Sunday, 3 May 2015

John Bekos: St John Chrysostom and theological ethics: κατάπαυσις and inoperativity in the Epistle to the Hebrews

The assumption is that John Chrysostom’s interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews may serve as a text with diachronic political and ethical implications. The text constitutes a composite or even a unified vision of the St Paul’s epistle as Chrysostom was a charismatic preacher and at the same time a Church leader in the political centre of the Byzantine Empire.  In addition, it is free from historical specificity and meaningful for the Christian preaching in the 21st century because of the Epistle’s few claims on historical facts and of the numerous warning passages and theological claims.

In contrast to the historical-critical method that has dominated recent studies in Hebrews and the common practice of applying methods of Exegesis on patristic texts along with the tendency for Christological claims based on alleged separations and divisions in Christ, this paper assumes that Chrystostom’s sermon on the Epistle to the Hebrews represents a unified vision of OT and NT, Logos and Christ, the Church and the God’s Kingdom, the now and the eschaton.  In particular, Chrystostom’s interpretation on ‘κατάπαυσις’ as the ultimate aim of the faithful Christians is placed within theological ethics and discussed in the light of modern political philosophy with emphasis on the Agamben’s idea on inoperativity.  Implications for a composite approach of patristic texts are presented.

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