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The Priestly Body: Power-Discourse and Identity in John Chrysostom’s De Sacerdotio

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AbstractThis paper approaches John Chrysostom’s De Sacerdotio from the perspective of body/power/identity. It identifies five power-discourses active in the text. Firstly, the discourse of hierarchy is present. The office of the priest ranks with the angels. Secondly, the priest is represented as disciplinarian and psychagogue, an enforcer of state and ecclesiastical policy in the process of making docile bodies. In the third instance, much attention is given to the disruptive others - those people who complicate the life and duty of the priest. Fourthly, the notion of andronormativity and normality is discussed, since gender is an important feature in De Sacerdotio. Finally, the relevance and effect of the priest as orator is extrapolated. The study concludes by asking how these discourses also shape the way Chrysostom thinks about himself and the sacerdotal office.

Affiliations: 1: Department of New Testament and Early Christian Studies, University of South Africa P.O. Box 392, UNISA 0003 Republic of South Africa, Email:


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