Ponderings about Chrysostom

I suppose I should share what I am thinking regarding this the dialogue of the past few days.

Eric made a valid point. Chrysostom’s homilies do not deal with a very large number of exegetical problems at all. A question then arises in my mind:

 Is the lack of exegetical detail on these many problems a result of his pre-modern/ancient mind in contrast to the scientific rigor that is seen in commentaries today? Or is it because of the fact that he speaks Greek natively and we do not?

The second question that follow from that one is:

Is it possible to validate whether Chrysostom’s view of ἀλλήλων as mutual is a result of not recognizing any linguistic difficulty in the meaning of the word?

It seems that the best way to answer the first question is a full fledged study of Chrysostom’s homilies on Ephesians, though even that might not give an definite answers to the question. This would include examining those instances where he does give multiple options regarding what the text means to see if there is any common thread between them regarding the kind of exegetical problems they are.

My guess is that the answer to the first question (or I should say first pair of questions) will probably be somewhere between the two. The amount of detail Chrysostom gives is still impressive and it seems to me that his examination of the text of Ephesians is focused on his historical meaning.

The second question is a bit easier to answer and requires a bit less work than the first (which hopefully, I will be able to answer in time). I think the best way to validate Chrysostom’s words is to consider how other ancient expositors, preferably Greek, understood this clause in 5.21. If there is consensus with Chrysostom regarding the mutuality of the clause, I will be inclined to conclude that my estimation and exegesis a couple posts back is correct and valid.

All of this essentially means that I need to find the texts of  Theodore of Mopsuestia, Ambrosiaster, others who wrote expositions of Paul’s letters.

Clement of Alexandria quotes Ephesians 5.21, but says very little more. Pope Anterus also quotes the verse as well. What is interesting about these two quotes is that Clement quotes verse twenty-one along as part of the following verses through verse 29, while Anterus quotes verses 1-21. Polycarp potentially quoted verse 21 in his letter to the Philippians. And Ambrose makes the interesting statement, Or as Paul wrote: “Submitting yourselves mutually to God and the Father in the fear of Christ” (NPNF2, vol 10, 303).

At some point, I’ll take a look at these more closely. But for now, I need to go to work at the library.

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