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Author Topic: St. John Chrysostom about the Parable of the Good Samaritan - source  (Read 1468 times) Average Rating: 0
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dhinuus
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« on: March 04, 2013, 03:02:41 AM »

I read the following interpretation of St. John Chrysostom.
Quote
St John Chrysostom helps us see through this text God’s constant and all-embracing love for us. This parable becomes a word-picture of the entire mystery of salvation:
A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho – Adam, by trusting in himself instead of God, descended from Paradise into this world. Jericho, at 825 feet below sea level is the lowest city on earth, as far down as you can get.
He fell among robbers – Mankind apart from God is beset by the band of demonic powers led by the ruler of this age.
They stripped him of his raiment – the robe of immortality.
They departed, leaving him half dead – he was reduced to the half-life of this earth, subject to sin and death.
It happened that a priest …and a Levite came that way, but passed by on the other side – The people of Israel kept to themselves and did not aid mankind.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine – Christ, not from this world, who was accused of being a Samaritan (John 8:48), is that compassionate stranger. He doctors mankind by His teachings (the bandages), His anointing with the Holy Spirit (the oil), and the Eucharist (the wine) by which He begins our healing.
He set him on his own beast, brought him to an inn and took care of him – Christ joined mankind to His own human nature, brought him to the hospital of His Church and continued to minister to him as the divine physician.
When he left on the next day he gave the innkeeper two dinars and said, ‘Take care of him’ – After His ascension Christ entrusted mankind to the Apostolic Synod personified by its great apostle to the Gentiles, St Paul, and “through Paul to the high priests and teachers and ministers of each church,” saying: “Take care of the Gentiles whom I have given to you in the Church. Since men are sick, wounded by sin, heal them, putting on them a stone plaster, that is, the prophetic sayings and the gospel teachings, making them whole through the admonitions and exhortations of the Old and New Testaments.” So according to St. John Chrysostom, Paul is the one who upholds the churches of God “and heals all men through spiritual admonitions, distributing the bread of offering to each one…”
‘And when I come again I will repay you’ – At my second coming I will reward you
Source : https://melkite.org/faith/sunday-scriptures/through-the-prism-of-the-fathers

The above teaching is beautifully represented in the following icon.


I looked at all works of St. John Chrysostom available online in English, that I am familiar with. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/chrysostom?show=worksBy
 
I could not find the teaching of St. John Chrysostom paraphrased in the above quote. Can someone please point me to the work of St. John Chrysostom where he gives the above teaching

St. Augustine is giving a very similar interpretation:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf106.vii.lxxxiii.html
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 03:10:24 AM by dhinuus » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2013, 11:19:37 PM »

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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2013, 11:48:53 AM »

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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2013, 12:51:01 AM »

Not sure. Though frankly this doesn't sound like an interpretation I'd expect from St. John Chrysostom. Anyway... BUmP
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2013, 03:31:10 AM »

While I find this beautiful, I've always found it difficult to accept such allegory.  Some of the ECFs really abide by this as the highest interpretation, but I'm just not convinced that it is.  Frankly, I'm kind of glad it went out of vogue.   Seems too forceful.
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2013, 10:30:20 AM »

While I find this beautiful, I've always found it difficult to accept such allegory.  Some of the ECFs really abide by this as the highest interpretation, but I'm just not convinced that it is.  Frankly, I'm kind of glad it went out of vogue.   Seems too forceful.

It hardly went out of vogue: with some variations in the details of the explanation, this is how almost every liturgical tradition I'm familiar with interprets the parable in its hymnography.  For instance, for the fifth Sunday of Lent in the Syriac tradition (a loose translation):

Quote
When Adam had fallen [by the wayside],
None of the Levitical priests or the prophets came to his aid.
The Lord of the Prophets [however] came and raised him up,
Bandaged his wounds, gave his body and blood
As a deposit for his care, and placed him in the care of his Father.
Lord, who (sheltered me in/protected me by) your grace, glory to you. 

Even in the Gospels, some of the parables are quite obviously allegories about his saving economy, and all of them reveal this economy in some way, so it's hardly "a stretch", even if a given parable may also have a more "practical" application. 

If this is too forceful an interpretation, what do you think the true interpretation is? 
 
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2013, 11:01:24 AM »

While I find this beautiful, I've always found it difficult to accept such allegory.  Some of the ECFs really abide by this as the highest interpretation, but I'm just not convinced that it is.  Frankly, I'm kind of glad it went out of vogue.   Seems too forceful.

It hardly went out of vogue: with some variations in the details of the explanation, this is how almost every liturgical tradition I'm familiar with interprets the parable in its hymnography.  For instance, for the fifth Sunday of Lent in the Syriac tradition (a loose translation):

Quote
When Adam had fallen [by the wayside],
None of the Levitical priests or the prophets came to his aid.
The Lord of the Prophets [however] came and raised him up,
Bandaged his wounds, gave his body and blood
As a deposit for his care, and placed him in the care of his Father.
Lord, who (sheltered me in/protected me by) your grace, glory to you.  

Even in the Gospels, some of the parables are quite obviously allegories about his saving economy, and all of them reveal this economy in some way, so it's hardly "a stretch", even if a given parable may also have a more "practical" application.  

It did go out of vogue.  People tend to use the Antiochian school of interpretation over the earlier Alexandrian.  

Quote
If this is too forceful an interpretation, what do you think the true interpretation is?  

Perhaps "forceful" was too strong a word, but are you serious?  Do you really think the inkeeper in the good Samaritan parable was talking about the apostle Paul?  That's not to say that there must only be one interpretation.  I believe that it is mainly about how we should be like the good Samaritan.

Chrysostom was a mixture of both Antiochian and Alexandrian, but I never found this interpretation convincing.  Not that there is no merit in it.  I think this is a beneficial application, but not so much an interpretation.


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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2013, 11:29:35 AM »

It did go out of vogue.  People tend to use the Antiochian school of interpretation over the earlier Alexandrian.  

Sorry, what I meant by "not going out of vogue" was simply that these remain in our liturgical texts and are held up in that way and with their weight as an appropriate interpretation, whatever "schools" happen to be more popular in any given age. 

Quote
Perhaps "forceful" was too strong a word, but are you serious?  Do you really think the inkeeper in the good Samaritan parable was talking about the apostle Paul?  That's not to say that there must only be one interpretation.  I believe that it is mainly about how we should be like the good Samaritan.

Yes, I was serious, but not in the way you took it.  I don't know that Christ intended to indicate the apostle Paul when he spoke of the innkeeper, I don't think so.  But that doesn't mean that, in the light of the Spirit, we can't understand how that particular character in the narrative may have another significance.  If going by this form of interpretation, I prefer to interpret the innkeeper as the Father, as my Church sings.  But even if Chrysostom treats it as a sort of prophecy of Paul's apostleship, the fundamental idea is the same: the wounded man is surrendered to the care of the Church, which has the resources to make him well.

I agree with you that the parable, directly answering the lawyer's question "Who is my neighbour?", is principally about how we should act like the Samaritan.  But that doesn't mean the parable is limited to this interpretation.  These aren't newspaper accounts of what Jesus said and did as he was saying and doing them; they have been faithfully recorded for us decades after the events happened as remembered and cherished by the communal memory of the Church.  They are told in a specific way and with a specific purpose.  Each parable proclaims within itself the gospel, proclaims the kingdom of God, and not always on one level but on several.  It's easier to see that in some parables than in others, and many also have other interpretations/applications, but that doesn't mean that only one is right.  While I don't think we have the liberty to let the text mean whatever we want it to mean at any given time, I don't think we should go too far in the opposite direction and limit what the Holy Spirit may want to reveal to us through the words of Scripture.
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2013, 11:40:58 AM »

It did go out of vogue.  People tend to use the Antiochian school of interpretation over the earlier Alexandrian.  

Sorry, what I meant by "not going out of vogue" was simply that these remain in our liturgical texts and are held up in that way and with their weight as an appropriate interpretation, whatever "schools" happen to be more popular in any given age.  

Quote
Perhaps "forceful" was too strong a word, but are you serious?  Do you really think the inkeeper in the good Samaritan parable was talking about the apostle Paul?  That's not to say that there must only be one interpretation.  I believe that it is mainly about how we should be like the good Samaritan.

Yes, I was serious, but not in the way you took it.  I don't know that Christ intended to indicate the apostle Paul when he spoke of the innkeeper, I don't think so.  But that doesn't mean that, in the light of the Spirit, we can't understand how that particular character in the narrative may have another significance.  If going by this form of interpretation, I prefer to interpret the innkeeper as the Father, as my Church sings.  But even if Chrysostom treats it as a sort of prophecy of Paul's apostleship, the fundamental idea is the same: the wounded man is surrendered to the care of the Church, which has the resources to make him well.

I agree with you that the parable, directly answering the lawyer's question "Who is my neighbour?", is principally about how we should act like the Samaritan.  But that doesn't mean the parable is limited to this interpretation.  These aren't newspaper accounts of what Jesus said and did as he was saying and doing them; they have been faithfully recorded for us decades after the events happened as remembered and cherished by the communal memory of the Church.  They are told in a specific way and with a specific purpose.  Each parable proclaims within itself the gospel, proclaims the kingdom of God, and not always on one level but on several.  It's easier to see that in some parables than in others, and many also have other interpretations/applications, but that doesn't mean that only one is right.  While I don't think we have the liberty to let the text mean whatever we want it to mean at any given time, I don't think we should go too far in the opposite direction and limit what the Holy Spirit may want to reveal to us through the words of Scripture.

I think I can agree with this.  When I became Orthodox eight years ago, much of the Alexandrian seemed difficult for me.  You can probably tell that it is still problematic for me, although I have gone a long way toward understanding it.

Fortunately it's not a one school vs another problem.  I personally find the Alexandrian school beneficial in a liturgical and reflective context.  I wouldn't use such to try to convince a Protestant, for example.  This is for the simple reason that allegory is not falsifiable, and anyone can claim anything to be allegory, with no resources to support it or refute it.
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« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2013, 12:43:34 PM »

I think I can agree with this.  When I became Orthodox eight years ago, much of the Alexandrian seemed difficult for me.  You can probably tell that it is still problematic for me, although I have gone a long way toward understanding it.

What tradition did you come from, if I may ask? 

Quote
Fortunately it's not a one school vs another problem.  I personally find the Alexandrian school beneficial in a liturgical and reflective context.  I wouldn't use such to try to convince a Protestant, for example.  This is for the simple reason that allegory is not falsifiable, and anyone can claim anything to be allegory, with no resources to support it or refute it.

Yeah, I agree with you.  I don't think it hurts to expose Protestants to such methods of interpretation as are contained in our liturgical and patristic writings, but if you have to reach them where they are, that's not going to cut it (something some Orthodox don't always appreciate).  Fortunately, we can make our case without it.   
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« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2013, 01:06:25 PM »

I think I can agree with this.  When I became Orthodox eight years ago, much of the Alexandrian seemed difficult for me.  You can probably tell that it is still problematic for me, although I have gone a long way toward understanding it.

What tradition did you come from, if I may ask? 

It's not so straightforward.  Raised and educated Catholic, then turned to a mixture of Evangelical end-is-nigh beliefs with some atheological leanings (Quakers).  However, my pre-Orthodox approach to Biblical interpretation would be considered largely Evangelical, i.e. only what is immediately in Scripture itself, as though it was written for my own personal sociology-cultural background.

Quote
Fortunately it's not a one school vs another problem.  I personally find the Alexandrian school beneficial in a liturgical and reflective context.  I wouldn't use such to try to convince a Protestant, for example.  This is for the simple reason that allegory is not falsifiable, and anyone can claim anything to be allegory, with no resources to support it or refute it.

Yeah, I agree with you.  I don't think it hurts to expose Protestants to such methods of interpretation as are contained in our liturgical and patristic writings, but if you have to reach them where they are, that's not going to cut it (something some Orthodox don't always appreciate).  Fortunately, we can make our case without it.   
[/quote]

True, however there are absolutely TONS of patristic material which Protestants would eat up provided, of course, that you don't tell them that saint said it  Wink

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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2013, 05:45:05 PM »

While I find this beautiful, I've always found it difficult to accept such allegory.  Some of the ECFs really abide by this as the highest interpretation, but I'm just not convinced that it is.  Frankly, I'm kind of glad it went out of vogue.   Seems too forceful.

It hardly went out of vogue: with some variations in the details of the explanation, this is how almost every liturgical tradition I'm familiar with interprets the parable in its hymnography.  For instance, for the fifth Sunday of Lent in the Syriac tradition (a loose translation):

Quote
When Adam had fallen [by the wayside],
None of the Levitical priests or the prophets came to his aid.
The Lord of the Prophets [however] came and raised him up,
Bandaged his wounds, gave his body and blood
As a deposit for his care, and placed him in the care of his Father.
Lord, who (sheltered me in/protected me by) your grace, glory to you. 

Even in the Gospels, some of the parables are quite obviously allegories about his saving economy, and all of them reveal this economy in some way, so it's hardly "a stretch", even if a given parable may also have a more "practical" application. 

If this is too forceful an interpretation, what do you think the true interpretation is? 
 

It is rather straightforward in it's simplicity compared to say the wheat falling in different places parable.
However there is nothing wrong with the above usage IMHO.

But Christ also made plain the meaning here,

Matthew 25
The Sheep and the Goats

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

We are told directly to care for the sick and needy and those in prisons, whether they deserved it in our opinion or not.
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2013, 09:48:04 AM »

Have we established that this is indeed something St. John Chrysostom has said? I have not been able to see the direct quotes of St. John Chrysostom and no body has pointed me to any of his sermons where he is making this claim. The only place where I have found this was by (St. ?) Augustine.
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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2013, 10:21:03 AM »

Have we established that this is indeed something St. John Chrysostom has said? I have not been able to see the direct quotes of St. John Chrysostom and no body has pointed me to any of his sermons where he is making this claim. The only place where I have found this was by (St. ?) Augustine.

Good point.  I've only heard someone bring up this example once when explaining the Alexandrian method.  In my memory they attributed it to someone other than Chrysostom.

Here is something very similar from St. Ambrose of Milan: http://enlargingtheheart.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/ambrose-of-milan-jesus-the-good-samaritan-heals-the-wounds-of-mankind/

Quote
Jericho is a figure of this world, to which Adam, cast forth from Paradise, the heavenly Jerusalem, because of sin, descended;

that is, he descended from the things of eternal life to the things of this lower world: he who through, not change of place but change of will, had brought exile upon his posterity.

For he was far changed from that Adam who had lived in untroubled blessedness, when he descended to earthly sinfulness and fell among robbers;

and he would not have fallen among them, had he not exposed himself to them, through turning away from what God had laid down for him.

Who are these robbers, if not the angels of night and of darkness; who will at times change themselves into angels of light, but cannot remain so?

These first of all strip us of the garments of spiritual grace we received, and this is how they are able to wound us.

For had we preserved the unstained garments we received, we could not feel the blows of the robbers.

Watch therefore that they do not first strip you, as they stripped Adam in the beginning, as he was stripped of the protection of the divine commandment, as he was stripped of the garment of faith, and so received a deadly wound.

In him all mankind would have been slain, had not this Samaritan, descending, taken care of his grievous wounds.

[...] Seeing the man half dead, whom no one before Him had been able to cure; like that woman having an issue of blood who had bestowed all her substance on physicians (Lk. 8:43);

He came near him, that is, He came close to us by sharing our suffering, and a neighbour to us by showing us mercy.

And bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine. Many are the remedies this Physician brings to heal us.  His words are medicines.

One word binds up our wounds, another soothes them with oil, another pours in wine.  He binds our wounds by His more austere rule of life,  He soothes us by the forgiveness of our sins, just as He urges us forward by the threat of His judgement.

And setting him upon his own beast. Hear how He raises you up.  He bears our sins, and for us suffers (Is. 53:4, Sept.).  And the Shepherd lays the weary sheep upon His own shoulders (Lk. 15:5).  For man had become like the beast (Ps. 48:13).

So He places us upon His own shoulders, lest we become like the horse and the mule (Ps. 31:9); so that by taking upon Himself our body, He might do away with the weaknesses of our flesh.

And so the Lord takes us to an inn…. Who is the innkeeper?

He perhaps who says: I count all things but as dung, that I may gain Christ (Phil. 3:Cool; from Whom he had received the care of the wounded man?

An innkeeper therefore is he who said: Christ sent me to preach the Gospel (1 Cor. 1:17).

Innkeepers are they to whom it was said: Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved (Mk. 16:15, 16): saved from death, saved from the wound inflicted by the robbers.

Blessed is that innkeeper who can cure another’s wound. Blessed is he to whom Jesus says: Whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee.

He is a good steward who also spends over and above.  Paul is a good steward, whose sermons and epistles are over and above the amount he had received.

He had fulfilled the simple command of the Lord by toil of body and soul that was almost beyond measure; that he might relieve many of their grave sickness by the ministry of his spiritual comfort.

[...] He then promises payment when He returns.  When will You return, O Lord, but on the Day of Judgement?  For though You are everywhere at all times, and stand now in our midst, though we see Younot, yet there shall be a time when all flesh shall behold You returning.

Then You wilt repay what You owe.  Blessed are they to whom Thou art Debtor!… How will you repay, O Lord Jesus?  You promised the just that their reward is very great in heaven (Mt. 5:12).

You will repay when You say: Well done, good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful over a few things, I will place you over many things.  Enter into the joy of your Lord (Mt. 25: 21).

And so since no one is more our neighbour than He Who has healed our wounds, let us love Him as our Lord, let us love Him as our neighbour; for nothing is closer than the Head to Its members.

And let us also love him who is an imitator of Christ.  Let us love him who in the unity of this Body has compassion on the need of another.

Ambrose of Milan (c. 337-397): Commentary on St Luke, ch. 10, Translated by M.F. Toale, D.D. @ Lectionary Central.
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« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2013, 03:41:25 PM »

The following Melkite Catholic site attributes it to St. John Chrysostom, but does not provide any sources. It does not say which sermon it is from.

https://melkite.org/faith/sunday-scriptures/through-the-prism-of-the-fathers
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« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2013, 03:48:18 PM »

The following Melkite Catholic site attributes it to St. John Chrysostom, but does not provide any sources. It does not say which sermon it is from.

https://melkite.org/faith/sunday-scriptures/through-the-prism-of-the-fathers

One way to find out where they got it from... Wink
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« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2013, 04:11:58 AM »

Asteriktos, good idea.  I shot them an email and they gave this book as a source. 

http://www.amazon.com/NICENE-AND-POST-NICENE-FATHERS-St-Chrysostom/dp/1602066094

So it seems like it is from Chrysostom, but of course I haven't read the book.
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« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2013, 04:25:32 AM »

Asteriktos, good idea.  I shot them an email and they gave this book as a source.  

http://www.amazon.com/NICENE-AND-POST-NICENE-FATHERS-St-Chrysostom/dp/1602066094

So it seems like it is from Chrysostom, but of course I haven't read the book.

I guess I'm a bit confused then Smiley The parable of the good Samaritan is in the Gospel of Luke, not Matthew. Also, that work is available for free on the net, and as you can see here, there is no mention of that particular passage from Luke (10:29-37) in the work linked to at amazon. So... I still don't know...
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« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2013, 04:37:24 AM »

Asteriktos, good idea.  I shot them an email and they gave this book as a source.  

http://www.amazon.com/NICENE-AND-POST-NICENE-FATHERS-St-Chrysostom/dp/1602066094

So it seems like it is from Chrysostom, but of course I haven't read the book.

I guess I'm a bit confused then Smiley The parable of the good Samaritan is in the Gospel of Luke, not Matthew. Also, that work is available for free on the net, and as you can see here, there is no mention of that particular passage from Luke (10:29-37) in the work linked to at amazon. So... I still don't know...

I'm not 100% if it is from that exact book (sorry forgot to mention this), but if not it is from the same series by the same editor.  I couldn't find it online though.  

Searched online for "Chrysostom homilies St. Luke" and the closest I found was this http://chrysostom.biblecommenter.com/luke/10.htm and it's blank.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 04:44:42 AM by john_mo » Logged

Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.

—G.K. Chesterton
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