Chrysostom’s exegesis of the Gospel according to St. Matthew

Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny. 2008;61(2) DOI 10.21906/rbl.349


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Journal Title: Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny

ISSN: 0209-0872 (Print); 2391-8497 (Online)

Publisher: Polskie Towarzystwo Teologiczne

LCC Subject Category: Philosophy. Psychology. Religion: Practical Theology | Philosophy. Psychology. Religion: Doctrinal Theology

Country of publisher: Poland

Language of fulltext: French, Polish, Russian, German, English, Spanish; Castilian, Italian

Full-text formats available: PDF



Arkadiusz Baron (Kraków)


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Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

This article is divided into four sections. In the first, Fr. Arkadiusz Baron describes shortly the reception of Chrysostom’s writings in the ancient world in the East and in the West. It is surprising that the “Golden Mouth” and his homilies have triggered so many difficulties from the very beginning until the present. In the past, in the East, a growing conflict with the Severian of Gabbala and other bishops became the main obstacle to the reception of Chrysostom’s preaching. In 403, at the so-called council at the oak, Chrysostom was condemned and exiled. One of many false accusations charged him with being too merciful toward sinners who were recidivists. In the West, Anian of Celedo, Pelagius’ friend, translated Chrysostom’s homilies (especially on Matthew) into Latin. Pelagianism was condemned and Chrysostom was suspected to be semi-Pelagian. The oldest and most integral Latin version of Chrysostom’s homilies on record date back from the twelfth century. In the fifteenth century pope Nicholaus V asked for a new translation. Similarly in Poland, Chrysostom was not too lucky. In Polish, only about 15 per cent of his homilies are available. Among the translators are J. Wujek, A. Załęski and J. Krystyniacki from the eighteenth century, and T. Sinko, W. Kania, A. Baron and J. Iluk from the twentieth century. Some of them are historians and philologists, but not theologians. This is a problem of the existing Polish translations: we need a good theological, biblical and homiletical elaboration of Chrysostom’s homilies. Homilies on Matthew were preached in 390 in Antioch when Chrysostom was already well-known. Chrysostom’s homilies are the first and one of the best ancient commentaries to this Gospel. He is the only man who in the first millennium of Christianity explained the Acts of the Apostles, and he is the only one in Christianity to do this in the form of homilies. The centre of the Jesus’ Gospel according to Chrysostom is the person of Jesus. The prime purpose of Matthew’s Gospel is to reveal the unconditional love of God for each human being. Homilies on Matthew are completely apolitical. Chrysostom never even mentions governors or political situations. Similarly, he does not speak about ecclesiastical canons of councils of Antioch from the fourth century. He is only interested in how to explain the best way to all the listeners the Good News that Jesus has brought on earth. At the end, Fr. Baron gives some examples of Chrysostom’s exegesis: Mt 12: 33-37; 10: 32; 28: 1-3 and Homily on Matthew 85, 3-4.