Article

Mindset (γνώμη) in John Chrysostom

Raymond J. Laird

in The Oxford Handbook of Maximus the Confessor

Published in print March 2015 | ISBN: 9780199673834
Published online July 2015 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199673834.013.9

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Mindset (γνώμη) in John Chrysostom

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The Greek term γνώμη is familiar to scholars studying the works of Maximus the Confessor, but has suffered neglect by those working on earlier Church Fathers. Even leading commentators on Maximus often give little note to Maximus’ predecessors, especially John Chrysostom, who is sometimes numbered among those who used the term γνώμη to denote ‘free consent’ or ‘opinion’ or intention. This is not the prime way in which Chrysostom uses the term; rather, he employs it as ‘mindset’ in the same mode as the ‘gnomic will’ of Maximus, as a faculty of the soul that controls the will. This study, based on my analysis of more than 1,400 occurrences of γνώμη in Chrysostom’s exegetical homilies, provides an introduction to this critical concept in Chrysostom’s anthropology and demonstrates its relationships to other faculties of the psyche. The study also points to the source of Chrysostom’s awareness of the significance of the term from Classical Greek paideia.

Keywords: John Chrysostom; soul; intention; gnomic will; mindset; Chrysostom’s anthropology; psyche; paideia; exegesis

Article.  9842 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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