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John Chrysostom's Audiences And His Accusations Of Religious Laxity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter seeks to investigate the question of religious apathy in the 4th century by looking at the writings of John Chrysostom and Libanius. It first explores the accusations of religious laxity that Chrysostom makes against his audience and the picture that Chrysostom's writings give of the attitudes of his audience towards religion. The chapter then turns to look in broader terms at the place given to religion in the 4th century by exploring the writings of Libanius on this matter. By taking into account this broader perspective, the chapter suggests that Chrysostom is unfair to accuse his audiences of religious laxity and that instead what we see is that they disagreed with him over the extent to which religion should permeate their lives. Christian texts from the period can give the impression that religion in general was of central importance.

Keywords: Christianity; John Chrysostom's audiences; Libanius; religious laxity



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