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At the Council of Arles , bishops were strongly exhorted to preach; and the Council of Mainz , in the same year, laid down that bishops should preach on Sundays and feast days either themselves suo marte or though their vicars. In the Second Council of Reims , can. And in the Third Council of Tours can. III, c. Charlemagne and Louis the Pious were equally insistent on the necessity of preaching. The former went so far as to appoint a special day, and any bishop who failed to preach in his cathedral before that day was to be deposed.

Pastors, too, were ordered to preach to their people as best they could; if they knew the Scriptures, they were to preach them; if not, they were at least to exhort their hearers to avoid evil and do good Sixth Council of Arles, , can. It has been commonly said by non-Catholic writers that there was little or no preaching during that time.

So popular was preaching, and so deep the interest taken in it, that preachers commonly found it necessary to travel by night, lest their departure should be prevented. It is only in a treatise on the history of preaching that justice could be done this period. As to style, it was simple and majestic, possessing little, perhaps, of so-called eloquence as at present understood, but much religious power, with an artless simplicity, a sweetness and persuasiveness all its own, and such as would compare favourably with the hollow declamation of a much-lauded later period.

Some sermons were wholly in verse, and, in their intense inclusiveness of thought, remind one of the Sermon on the Mount : Francis [3] [12]. The characteristics of the preaching of the time were an extraordinary use of Scripture, not a mere introducing of the Sacred Text as an accretion, but such a use as comes from entwinement with the preacher's own thought. It would almost appear as if many preachers knew the Scriptures by heart. In some cases, however, this admirable use was marred by an exaggerated mystical interpretation, which originated in the East and was much sought after by the Jews.

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Secondly, power on the part of the preachers of adapting their discourses to the wants of the poor and ignorant. Thirdly, simplicity, the aim being to impress a single striking idea. Fourthly, use of familiar maxims, examples, and illustrations from life—their minds must have been much in touch with nature. And, fifthly, intense realization, which necessarily resulted in a certain dramatic effect—they saw with their eyes, heard with their ears, and the past became present.

Scholastic philosophy supplied an almost inexhaustible store of information; it trained the mind in analysis and precision; whilst, at the same time, it supplied a lucidity of order and cogency of arrangement such as we look for in vain in even the great orations of Chrysostom. Philosophy regards man only as an intellectual being, without considering his emotions, and makes its appeal solely to his intellectual side. And, even in this appeal, philosophy, while, like algebra, speaking the formal language of intellect, is likely to be wanting from the view-point of persuasiveness, inasmuch as, from its nature, it makes for condensation rather than for amplification.

Philosophy, indeed, is necessary for oratory; philosophy alone does not constitute oratory, and, if too one-sided, may have an injurious effect -- "Logic, therefore, so much as is useful, is to be referred to this one place with all her well-couched heads and topics, until it be time to open her contracted palm into a graceful and ornate rhetoric". It is scarcely necessary to say that many Scholastics, such as Sts. Thomas and Bonaventure, were noted preachers. In a discussion of the history of preaching, a reference to the mystics is called for.

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The tendency of mysticism is, in the main, the opposite to that of philosophy. Mysticism makes for warmth; philosophy, for coldness -- "Cold as a mountain in its star-pitched tent stood high philosophy. This period, too, is treated in its proper place. As to preaching, Humanism contributed more to oratorical display than to piety in the pulpit. The motto of its two representative types, Reuchlin and Erasmus , was: "Back to Cicero and Quintilian.

John Chrysostom: The “golden-mouthed”, man of GOD and teologician

In the Reformation and post-Reformation period the air was too charged with controversy to favour high-class preaching. The Council of Trent recommended preachers to turn aside from polemics; it also [17] pronounced that the primary duty of preaching devolved on bishops, unless they were hindered by a legitimate impediment; and ordered that they were to preach in person in their own church, or, if impeded, through others; and, in other churches, through pastors or other representatives.

The French preachers of the classical seventeenth-century period were, according to Voltaire , probably the greatest in pulpit oratory of all time. The first was considered to be the most majestic; the second, the most logical and intellectually compelling; the third, the greatest searcher of hearts, the most like Chrysostom, and, taken all in all, the greatest of the three. In this age Chrysostom was the great model for imitation; but it was Chrysostom the orator, not Chrysostom the homilist.

Their style, with its grand exordium and its sublime peroration, became the fashion in the following age. The most prominent name identified with this new style of preaching was that of the Dominican Lacordaire , who, for a time, with Montalembert , was associate editor with de Lamennais of "L'Avenir". This new style of preaching discarded the form, the division, and analysis of the scholastic method.

Boyle, "Irish Eccl. As to preaching at the present day, we can clearly trace the influence, in many respects, of Scholasticism, both as to matter and form. In matter a sermon may be either moral, dogmatic, historical, or liturgical—by moral and dogmatic it is meant that one element will predominate, without, however, excluding the other. As to form, a discourse may be either a formal, or set, sermon; a homily; or a catechetical instruction. In the formal, or set, sermon the influence of Scholasticism is most strikingly seen in the analytic method, resulting in divisions and subdivisions.

This is the thirteenth-century method, which, however, had its beginnings in the sermons of Sts. Bernard and Anthony. The underlying syllogism, too, in every well-thought-out sermon is due to Scholasticism; how far it should appear is a question that belongs to a treatise on homiletics. As to the catechetical discourse, it has been so much favoured by Pope Pius X that it might be regarded as one of the characteristics of preaching at the present day.

It is, however, a very old form of preaching. It was used by Christ Himself, by St. Paul, by St. Cyril of Jerusalem , by St. Clement and Origen at Alexandria, by St.

Collected Homilies of St. John Chrysostom (15 vols.)

Augustine, who wrote a special treatise thereon De catechizandis rudibus , also, in later times, by Gerson, chancellor of the University of Paris, who wrote "De parvulis ad Christum trahendis"; Clement XI and Benedict XIV gave to it all the weight of their authority, and one of the greatest of all catechists was St. Charles Borromeo. There is the danger, however, from the very nature of the subject, of this form of preaching becoming too dry and purely didactic, a mere catechesis, or doctrinism, to the exclusion of the moral element and of Sacred Scripture.

In recent days, organized missionary preaching to non-Catholics has received a new stimulus. In the United States, particularly, this form of religious activity has flourished; and the Paulists , amongst whom the name of Father Hecker is deserving of special mention, are to be mainly identified with the revival. Special facilities are afforded at the central institute of the organization for the training of those who are to impart catechetical instruction, and the non-controversial principles of the association are calculated to commend it to all earnestly seeking after truth.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy See , through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments headed as of February by Cardinal Prefect Robert Sarah , has published an official guide and directory for use by bishops, priests, and deacons, who are charged with the ministry of preaching by virtue of their ordination, and for those studying the subject, among others seminarians and those in diaconal formation, called the Homiletic Directory.

Practice preceded theory. Certain ideas are to be found in the Church Fathers, and these have been collected by Paniel in the introduction to his work "Geschichte der christlich.

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The first to treat of the theory of preaching was St. John Chrysostom , in his work "On the Priesthood" peri Hierosynes. Inasmuch as this contains only reflections on preaching, St. He goes to the Roman pagan orator Cicero for rules in the latter. He makes a distinction, in which he evidently follows Cicero, between sapientia wisdom and eloquentia the best expression of it. Sapientia without eloquentia will do no good; neither will eloquentia without sapientia, and it may do harm; the ideal is sapientia with eloquentia.

He adapts Cicero's ut doceat, ut delectet, ut flectat , changing them to ut veritas pateat, ut placeat, ut moveat ; and lays down these as the rules by which a sermon is to be judged. This work of Augustine was the classic one in homiletics. He describes it practically in relation to the classical theory of oratory, which has five parts: inventio the choice of the subject and decision of the order , dispositio the structure of the oration , elocutio the arrangement of words and figure of speech , memoria learning by heart , and pronuntiatio the delivery.

He constructed this theory in four parts: the basic principles of rhetoric DDC 4. Augustine stresses the importance of principle and discipline at the same time. Preachers need to practice again and again DDC 4. But they should pay attention to the priority of order. Continuous and diligent study of the Bible is more important than mere memorization, that is to say, they should pursue wisdom more than knowledge DDC 4. The best is the combination of wisdom and eloquence as seen in the Pauline letters and prophetic writings DDC 4. Yet, he does not praise eloquence itself; rather he prefers a concrete proclamation than a showing off of rhetorical technique DDC 4.

It is truth, not rhetoric, that preachers try to deliver DDC 4. The most significant practice and discipline is prayer. Augustine advises to be a prayer before being a preacher. Preachers should pray before and after his sermon DDC 3. Augustine himself was a good model of this practice.


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Before the preaching, he invited the congregation to pray Epistula After the sermon he also prayed Sermones Prayer is a major means of grace in knowing God. Augustine says that love is the most important discipline in Christian life in his sermon, De disciplina christiana. If one adds another to Christian discipline besides love, prayer will come first. The preacher should be a good example of all sermons. The manner of life can be an eloquent sermon copia dicendi, forma vivendi ; DDC 4.

The more a preacher endeavors after humility, discipline, and love, the better his or her sermon becomes. And now these three are always necessary for all Christian teachers: humility, discipline, and love. But the greatest of these is love. Hugh of St.

Victor died in the Middle Ages laid down three conditions for a sermon: that it should be "holy, prudent and noble", for which, respectively, he required sanctity, knowledge and eloquence in the preacher. Augustine's work "De rudibus catechizandis". Augustine's; it is rather a treatise on pastoral theology than on homiletics. Hincmar says that a copy used to be given to bishops at their consecration. In the ninth century Rabanus Maurus died , Archbishop of Mainz , wrote a treatise De institutione clericorum , in which he depends much on St.

In the twelfth century Guibert, Abbot of Nogent died , wrote a famous work on preaching entitled "Quo ordine sermo fieri debet".

This is one of the historical landmarks in preaching. It is replete with judicious instruction; it recommends that preaching should be preceded by prayer; it says that it is more important to preach about morals than on faith, that for moral sermons the human heart must be studied, and that the best way of doing so is as Massillon recommended in later times to look into one's own. It is more original and more independent than the work of Rabanus Maurus, who, as has been said, drew largely from St.

Guibert's work was recommended by Pope Alexander as a model to all preachers. Francis gave to his friars the same directions as are herein contained. He lays stress on explanation and use of Scripture and recommends the preacher to insert verba commotiva. Conrad of Brundelsheim died , whose sermons have come down to us under his cognomen of "Brother Sock" Sermones Fratris Socci , was one of the most interesting preachers at this time in Germany.

Bonaventure wrote "De arte concionandi", in which he treats of divisio, distinctio, dilatatio , but deals extensively only with the first. Thomas Aquinas 's claim rests chiefly on the " Summa ", which, of course, has principally influenced preaching since, both in matter and form. He insists very strongly [21] on the importance of preaching, and says that it belongs principally to bishops, and baptizing to priests, the latter of whom he regards as holding the place of the seventy disciples. There is a monograph quoted by Hartwig which is interesting for the classification of the forms of sermon: modus antiquissimus , i.

He treats of his subject on three points: the preacher, the sermon, the listeners.

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He lays stress on Scripture as the book of the preacher. Ulrich Surgant wrote a "Manuale Curatorum" , in which he also recommends Scripture. A masterwork on the art of preaching is the "Rhetorica Sacra" Lisbon, of Luis de Granada , for modern use rather old. An ascetic by nature, John Chrysostom often made enemies among the wealthy and elite—both Christian and pagan—for his anti-materialism and his refusal to participate in or perpetuate lavish traditions. Delivered at Antioch, these Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew focus on alms-giving, care of the poor, and resistance to conspicuous consumption.

These homilies paint a portrait not only of the Apostles, but of John Chrysostom himself. These 27 homilies were delivered in AD , a period of strife in Constantinople, and they continue his expositions on the Acts. This second volume completes The Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles , which has been called one of the stand-alone writings of the first ten centuries of Christendom. His Homilies on the Epistle to the Ephesians were written earlier, before AD and follow his more classic pattern.

Sample Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6. He tenderly and fervently exhorts them to greater virtue, whether it be penitence, alms-giving, mindfulness of sin, or thankfulness. John Chrysostom c. His homilies consistently emphasize care for the poor. Both the Orthodox and Catholic churches recognize him as a saint and a doctor of the Church.

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Courses What is Logos Mobile Ed? Shop New Products Browse All. Shop Courses Browse All Topics. John Chrysostom 15 vols. Format: Digital. Publishers: John Henry Parker , J. Be the first to rate this. Overview Archbishop of Constantinople and influential early Church Father John Chrysostom was known for his eloquent preaching. Resources Included.

Key Features Collects homilies and commentaries from one of the most influential early church fathers Provides insight into early church history and theology Conducts systematic exegesis of several books of the Bible Includes timeless messages of Christian virtue and resistance to the dominant culture.