Women and Men in the Early Church: The Vision of St. John Chrysostom
Women & Men in the Early Church 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. "I was privileged to watch this project on John Chrysostom's teaching on women and men grow from its inception and early stages to the definitive argument that it now has become. I can think of no project in which I have been involved at the Drew University Graduate School that has given me more joy than this one. This book deserves careful reading not only by theological students and pastors, but also by historians and interpreters of feminism -- and most of all, by couples trying to order their sexual and family lives before God.