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Identity: The Indigent and the Wealthy in the Homilies of John Chrysostom

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In this article, identity theory is applied to a selection of John Chrysostom's homilies in order to investigate the identities being created, negotiated and modified in his commentary on the 'poor'. It is proposed that his discourse on the poor and almsgiving seeks overwhelmingly to negotiate identities for the wealthy within his Christian community, rather than for the poor. These identities are considered through Chrysostom's use of imagery, his commentary on behaviour, and his emphasis on the benefits provided both by the poor and almsgiving. Furthermore, it is argued that in these homilies Chrysostom sought to mediate Christian identities for the wealthy that complemented rather than opposed those operating in the wider non-Christian, Greco-Roman world.

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Early Christian Studies, Australian Catholic University, P.O. Box 162, Alice Springs, NT 0871, Australia;, Email:


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