The doctrine of Christ as it relates to the Christian life in John Chrysostom's homilies on the Gospel of John and Hebrews
The present study examines the picture of Christ as it emerges in John Chrysostom’s exposition of the Gospel of John and the Epistle to the Hebrews and investigates Chrysostom’s view of the intertwined relationship between Christology and the Christian life. The study begins with the survey of the Alexandrian and Antiochene perspectives on the reading and interpretation of Scripture and analyzes Chrysostom’s exegesis with reference to the two “schools” of interpretation. It will be shown that both traditions operated within certain exegetical parameters and shared common presuppositions, including the spirituality of the Scriptures and the centrality of Christ. The focus then shifts to the development of Chrysostom’s Christological thought in his exposition of John’s gospel and Hebrews. Chrysostom’s picture of Christ is examined employing a threefold analytical structure: ontological considerations, sacramental mediation and practical outworking. Through the investigation of the interwoven relationship between doctrine and praxis in Chrysostom’s exegetical homilies, this study demonstrates that his Christology is not divisive but unitive: a view which equates the single subject, the Logos-Son, with the person of Christ. The idea of the divine personal presence in Christ colours Chrysostom’s soteriological, sacramental and praxiological perspectives. The Christological picture which emerges in Chrysostom’s exegesis, in the final analysis, stresses the ontological continuity of the Logos-Son in Christ, his sacramental presence in the Church, and his spiritual operation in the individual Christian. All these dimensions suggest that John Chrysostom’s Christology is better understood when viewed in the context of his understanding of the Christian life.