John Chrysostom, Adversus Judaeos; Oratio 2 (lost section) (2010)
John Chrysostom, Adversus Judaeos Oratio 2 [previously unpublished section filling in the lacuna in Or. 2.2 (PG 48: 860)]
[Greek text and German translation published by W. Pradels, R. Brändle and M. Heimgartner, "Das bisher vermisste Textstück in Johannes Chrysostomus, Adversus Judaeos, Oratio 2," Zeitschrift für antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity 5 (2001) 23-49.]
The manuscript that was found and used by Pradels, supplementing Monac. Gr. 190, the only previously known ms. of the 2nd oration, is Μονὴ Λείμωνος no. 27 [from the Leimonos Monastery on Lesbos, an 11th-cen. ms.] pages 120va-129va (the whole oration is on pp. 116r-131r of the ms.).
The page references embedded in the translation are for this publication by Pradels et al., where refs. to the ms. pagination can be found.
The Law did help our nature very much—but only if it genuinely leads us to Christ; by the same token, if it does not do this, it has actually hurt us, by depriving us of greater things through attention to smaller things, and by continuing to keep us confined in the countless wounds of our transgressions. Indeed, suppose there were two doctors, the one less powerful and the other more powerful; and the one, although he applied medicines to the patient's sores, was not able to free the afflicted person once and for all from the pain they caused, but only brought some slight relief, whereas when the other doctor, the more powerful one, arrived, taking all those medicines away and simply washing the sick person, he was able to purify him of his afflictions, leaving no further trace—not even the slightest mark. And then, suppose that the first doctor tried to prevent the patient from being treated by that [better doctor]. What help could he possibly provide by the application of his medicines, that would be as great as the damage he caused by preventing the patient from taking the brief way, the quickest way to health?
This is also how you should think, when it comes to Christ and the Law. The Law applies medicines, bringing altogether slight relief for our sores. Christ, on the other hand, when he came, took away all these things and by washing us with the water of baptism, he allowed no trace or mark of our previous wounds to remain. So then, one who still clings to the Law is doing nothing but disbelieving in the skill of the doctor, and denying that baptism is sufficient to take away his trespasses. For running to the law is the mark of one who is afraid that Christ is not strong enough to free us from our prior sins through his own grace—and this is proof of the worst unbelief: such people are committing outrage on both the Law and on Christ, disbelieving both the one and the other. By clinging to the Law, they are disbelieving in Christ's grace; but by clinging to it only in part, they have charged it with great weakness. Tell me: Is the law alone, by itself, able to justify? [Yes?] Well then, why do you not fulfill it completely? – But it is fairly weak and feeble. – Obviously you think so, if you only keep it in part! Again, is Christ able to grant the forgiveness of all your sins? [Yes?] Well then, why do you cling to the Law, and fear that you will be judged as a transgressor for not keeping one of the Law's commandments? This is the mark of those who do not truly have confidence in Christ's kindness. At this point, it is timely to say, "Woe to a fearful heart and to slack hands and to a sinner who walks upon two paths!" For you must imagine that what has been said about circumcision has also been said about fasting, and about every other commandment of the Law, if you keep it now, at the wrong time—just as, if someone is now circumcised, "Christ will be of no benefit" to him. Indeed, so that you will not think this statement only pertained to circumcision, [p. 32] but instead [understand that it applied] to the entire Law, if someone were to keep it now, at the wrong time, you must listen to what he says: "You who are [trying to be] justified by the Law have fallen away from grace." What further punishment could there be to equal this one? But may this not happen to our brothers! I do call them brothers, even if they are sick in countless ways, because of my hopes for their health.
Now then, let me strip down for the fight against the Jews themselves, so that the victory may be more glorious—so that you will learn that they are abominable and lawless and murderous and enemies of God. For there is no evidence of wickedness I can proclaim that is equal to this. But, in order to amass forensic-style speeches against them, I shall first demonstrate that even if they had not been deprived of their ancestral way of life, even so their fast would be polluted and impure—and I shall provide the proofs from the Law itself, and from Moses. For if it was lawless when it was observed while the Law was in effect and in power, so much the more now that the Law has ceased. And I shall demonstrate that not only the fast, but also all the other practices which they observe—sacrifices and purifications and festivals—are all abominable. And when the very manner of purification is illegal as practiced, and would be rejected as loathsome, which of their other [rituals] can purify them thereafter?
The best starting point for the demonstration will be their observance with regard to the place. For God led them out of the whole world and confined them in a single place, Jerusalem. And in no other place were they permitted to fast, to sacrifice, to celebrate festivals or tabernacles, or indeed to read the Law, at the time when the Law was in force. And if back then, whenever these rites were conducted outside Jerusalem, the procedure constituted transgression, all the more so now. If you wish, I will read the laws that were set down for them concerning these matters. First, let me recite the law set down concerning the festival of Passover: "For you shall not be able to celebrate the Passover in any of the cities which the Lord your God gives you, but at the place which the Lord your God chooses for his name to be called [p. 34] there"—meaning Jerusalem (for his name had been called over that city, as Daniel also made plain when he prayed and said, "Look at the destruction of us and of your city, upon which your name has been called over it"). He used this term for the city not because God has a city—of course not!—but in order to make the place more awesome by virtue of the fear inherent in the appellation. So then, this law is one that prohibits them from carrying out the sacrifices of the Passover [anywhere outside Jerusalem], not only in Syria and Cilicia and among other peoples, but even in Palestine itself. "For you shall not be able to celebrate the Passover in any of the cities which the Lord your God gives you"—and the cities he gave were in Judaea. Do you see how they have been forced out, not out of the world, but out of the [rest of the] province itself, into one single place? Again, concerning the festival which is now imminent, he warns, "For seven days you shall celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, when you gather in from your threshing-floor and your wine-vat." For because they were ungrateful and unmindful of their benefactor, he bound their remembrances of the kindness of God into the necessities of their festivals. And at the same time, they would learn the reason for the festival: For when the harvest is complete, he says, celebrate days of thanksgiving to the giver of the requested sustenance—"For seven days you shall celebrate the festival, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the proselyte / foreigner who is attached to you, the orphan and the widow; for seven days you shall keep the festival unto the Lord God in the place which the Lord your God chooses." And as for the fact that they were not even allowed to read the Law outside Jerusalem, listen to this: "After seven years, at the time of the year of Release, the Feast of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes together to appear before the Lord your God in the place which he chooses. There you shall read the Law"; there you shall fast for the Feast of Tabernacles. Do you see that he preserves this [stipulation] also in the case of the fast? [p. 36]
Next, in order not to go through each thing individually, he added in summary fashion that it was in no way permitted for them to carry out their customary rituals of worship anywhere else, saying, "Be careful not to offer your burnt-offerings in any place you see; but in the place which the Lord your God chooses for his name to be called, there you shall offer your sacrifices, there you shall perform all that I command you today." For when he said "all," he included, by using this word, festivals and sacrifices and lustrations and purifications and whatever else was in the Law. Then, because they were thoughtless and senseless, and his exhortation was not sufficient to persuade them, he also added an inexorable punishment for those who disobeyed: "The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and to the children of Israel, saying: Anyone from among you, or from among the proselytes / foreigners who are attached to you, whoever slaughters a bull-calf or a sheep or a goat outside the camp or in the camp itself, and does not bring his sacrifice to the doors of the Tent of Witness, blood shall be reckoned for him; that man has shed blood." What does it mean that "blood shall be reckoned for him"? He will be condemned for murder, having become just like a murderer—for [God] was not paying attention to the nature of what was sacrificed, but to the mindset of the one who was sacrificing. For this reason, it was reckoned as murder: because the slaughter took place contrary to God's wishes. Do you see how closely guarded the [issue of] place was? The one who does not sacrifice at the doors of the Tent of Witness, he says, will be punished just as if he has killed a human being, even if he is sacrificing a sheep. And further tightening the punishment, he says, "That soul shall be cut off from his people." Why? Because he did not bring his sacrifices to the doors of the Tent of Witness, he then says. And why does he order them to sacrifice there? So that they will not sacrifice to their idols and "to the vain things with which they themselves engage in prostitution." Do you see that the very reason is an indictment of their impiety and prostitution? (For he always calls their impiety prostitution.) He drove them together from all quarters into a single place for this reason: so that they would have no occasion for impiety. When a well-born and free man has a female slave who is licentious and pulls in all the passers-by for immoral relations with her, he does not allow her to go out into the neighborhood, to show herself in the alley-way, to rush into the marketplace; instead, he confines her upstairs in the house, shackles her with iron, and orders her to remain indoors at all times, so that both the spatial restrictions of the place and the compulsion of the chains will be her starting-point for chastity. God acted in the very same way: the Synagogue being his licentious slave-woman, gaping after every demon and [p. 38] every idol, and rushing to make sacrifices to the idols in every spot and in every place, he confined it in Jerusalem and the temple, as though in the master's house, and ordered it to sacrifice and celebrate festivals at appointed times there only, so that both the spatial restrictions of the place and the observance of the times would keep it, even unwillingly, in the law of piety. Sit there and be modest, he says; let the place train you, since your character did not.
And [to confirm] that this is the reason why he commanded sacrifice there only: you have heard the Law that has now been read among us—it runs as follows: "For they shall bring their sacrifices to the doors of the Tent of Witness"—and it goes on to add the reason: "So that they will not sacrifice to their idols and to the vain things with which they themselves engage in prostitution." For there was no spot in Palestine that was not defiled by their impiety; instead, every hill, every ravine, and every tree was privy to this impiety of theirs. For this reason, Hosea cried out and said, "They sacrificed upon the hills; they made sacrifices upon the summits of the mountains, under oak and pine and shade-giving tree, because the shelter was good." And Jeremiah said, "Lift your eyes around you and see: Where did they not engage in prostitution?" It was for this reason that God, seeing that they had gone astray, confined them in one spot: the temple. But not even this put a stop to their licentiousness; rather, as if obstinately wishing to demonstrate to their Lord that whatever he did they would not abandon their madness, they brought adulterous lovers into their Lord's house, at one time setting up a four-faced idol there, at another time painting the abominations of reptiles and cattle on the wall. Ezekiel made this known to us—for he was brought from Babylon to the temple, and when he saw them burning incense to the sun and mourning for Adonis and worshipping all the other idols in the temple itself, he cried out in distress.
But the prophet did not point out only this rampant impiety, but also [approached the subject] in another way, speaking as follows: "There came to be in you a perversion beyond all women." How is it that payments are made to all prostitutes, he says, "but you gave out payments"? For they engaged in prostitution and paid money for their own prostitution, which is the greatest proof of a soul that is being driven mad by the sting of its own profligacy. So then, because the house did not make them modest—instead, they set up their idols there—in the end God razed the temple itself to the ground. For what need was there for that place, given that idols were standing there and demons were being served in it? [p. 40]
Now I want to reckon up just what I promised you at first. What was it, then, that I promised? To show that they are transgressing in all that they now do—and in the first place, in the festival of Passover. The fact that they are not simply transgressing the Law, but are manifestly also murderers, when they celebrate this festival outside Jerusalem, is clear from what I have said. This has been proved most abundantly, by the grace of God. Therefore, whenever they sacrifice the Passover [lamb] either here or elsewhere, they are manifestly murderers. For if, when someone does not bring his sacrifice to the doors of the Tent of Witness, the sacrifice is reckoned as blood and murder, and if these people make their sacrifices not only outside the temple, but even outside the city, indeed everywhere on earth, then it is quite obvious that they are enmeshed in the pollution [of murder] to an enormous degree. In the same way, when they celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and their other festivals, they are again impure and defiled. For if everything is purified by means of the sacrifices, and "apart from the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness," then once all the sacrifices have been taken away with the destruction of the temple, it necessarily follows that the methods of purification and the customs of all the festivals have been taken away—or that if they are practiced, they cause even greater pollution because they are performed in an unlawful manner.
Not only were they not permitted to sacrifice outside the temple—they were not even permitted to sing elsewhere, as the prophet also made plain. For when they had been carried off to Babylon, and those who had taken them captive wanted to hear Jewish song, and would say to them, "Sing to us some of the songs of Zion," they would answer, by way of informing them that it was not permissible to sing outside Jerusalem, "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?" But neither did they fast in a foreign land; listen to what God said to them through Zechariah: "For seventy years, you have not fasted a fast for me, have you?"—referring indirectly to the time of the captivity. It has also been proved that they were permitted to make sacrifices there only. For this reason the three children said, "There is no ruler or prophet at this time, nor any place to make an offering and find mercy." Now of course there was a place in Babylonia—but not the customary place. For they hearkened to Moses, who said, "Be careful not to offer your burnt-offerings in any place you see; but in the place which the Lord your God chooses…" Thus, when they were allowed neither to sacrifice nor to sing nor to be purified nor to read the Law (for indeed, another prophet likewise made the same charge when he said—and brought it out as a great accusation [p. 42]—"They read the Law outside and invoked confession.")—when, therefore, they were allowed to do none of these things, what defense will they possibly have hereafter? They condemn and defile themselves by their myriad paths of transgression. And that is why I called their fast impure right from the beginning: because it is carried out unlawfully. Indeed, their Passover and Feast of Tabernacles, and whatever else they do, are profane and abominable; what they carry out is not worship, but lawlessness and transgression and outrage committed on God. You see, if they did not dare to do any of these things during their sojourning in a foreign land (as my discourse has proved), when they expected to recover their ancestral city and return to the temple, then they are obligated much more now to stay idle, to refrain from action, and not to carry out any of these things—now that there is no longer any hope that they will recover Jerusalem. For that city shall not rise up again in the future, nor will they return to their prior form of worship. It was to make this clear to them that God opened up the whole world to them, and made that spot alone inaccessible, and thus there are imperial laws keeping them away and not allowing them to set foot in the doorway of the city—that city is and will remain off-limits for them at all times.
But on the very day of their fast, I will demonstrate that it [i.e., Jerusalem] will not rise again—if you are present again with the same enthusiasm and I see this hall made just as magnificent as it is now with the multitude of the listeners. Today, on the other hand, it is necessary to tell you why God opened the entire world to them, but made that city alone inaccessible to them. Why, then, did he do this? He knew their obstinacy and shamelessness, their willfulness and disobedience; he knew that they would not easily choose to give up their former way of life, conducted with sacrifices and burnt offerings, and go toward the higher, more spiritual life of the Gospels. What, then, did he do? After tying their worship of him to the necessity of sacrifices, he furthermore confined the sacrifices themselves to the temple, and after doing this, he made the place off-limits for them, so that, from the fact that they were not allowed to set foot in Jerusalem, they would become aware that it was now not permissible for them to sacrifice—and from the absence of sacrifice they would be taught not to cling to the rest of their forms of worship any longer, and would be able to see that it was no longer the proper time for that way of life, that instead, God was calling them to a different and greater philosophy. A loving mother who has a nursing child, but later is eager to wean him away from milk-nourishment and lead him toward other kinds of nourishment—when she sees that he is unwilling and resistant, and continues to seek her breast and insinuate himself into her maternal bosom, she smears gall or some other kind of very bitter juice around the very nipple of her breast, [p. 44] and thus compels him, unwilling as he is, to turn away from the source of milk in future. In the very same way, God, wanting to lead them to more solid nourishment, but then seeing them constantly running back to Jerusalem and its way of life, walled off the city like a mother's nipple with bile and the bitterest juice—the fear of the Romans—and by means of imperial decrees he made it become off-limits for them. His intention was that because of the desolation and the soldiers' weapons, they would stand aloof from that homeland and little by little become accustomed to rejecting their desire for milk and slipping into a love and craving for solid nourishment. For even though emperors caused the desolation, they were moved by God to do so, and this is clear from [a comparison with] the previous periods, when not even the ruler of the whole [world] was strong enough to take the city, since God was favorable to them. The temple was destroyed for this reason: so that they would no longer look for God in a place, but look up toward the heavens. Sacrifices were taken away for this reason: so that they would be able to see the true sacrifice as well, which took away the sin of the world. But if they are not willing [to change], then God, for his part, has displayed to them his kindness, while they, having made themselves unworthy of his goodness, will bring inexorable punishment upon themselves.
But now, it is time to leave behind my discourse with them, and to direct my criticism against those who have gone off to hear the Trumpets. Indeed, I ought not to have considered them even worth taking into account at this point, since after so much exhortation and advice they still persisted in the same stupidity. But I do expect to correct their ways by this second exhortation, and to persuade them to condemn their own stupidity with regard to their earlier [behavior]; thus, I eagerly embark on these remarks directed at them. For indeed, I know that by the grace of God, many of those who were accustomed to do these things have departed from their wicked custom; and if not all were persuaded, yet they shall be persuaded by all means. A body that is beginning to be healthy makes progress on a path so as to cast off all its illness and [p. 46] finally return to a state of pure health.
You ran to hear the Trumpets? Tell me—(I wish to have a conversation with them in their absence, as though they were present. For even so does the soul that is in pain converse with people as though they are present and listening, even if those it is attacking are not listening.)—so then, you ran to hear the Trumpets? Tell me: With those murderers? With those charlatans? With those delirious and raving-mad Jews? Did you not listen to Christ, who said, "The one who looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart"? For just as a licentious gaze produces adultery, so also untimely hearing works impiety. But you desire to hear a trumpet! Then listen to the trumpet of Paul, the spiritual trumpet blaring out from the heavens and saying, "Take up the full armor of God. Gird your loins with truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, cover your feet with the equipment of the Gospel of peace, take up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit."
Do you see how a spiritual trumpet arms you and leads you out to the battle against the demons? Listen to the thunder of John, saying: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Wait for the trumpet that [will sound] from the heavens: "For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead will rise again." Those who hear this [earthly] trumpet will not hear that [heavenly] one—or rather, they will hear it, but to their own detriment. For participation in the Jewish festival will mean participation in their punishment. At that time, the Jews "will look upon him whom they pierced." What, then, [will happen,] if you appear in company with them? Is it not abundantly clear what is left [as the implication]? I am afraid to say it, but I impart it to your consciousness. You sound the trumpet with them now—so you will mourn with them then. But may it never be that any of the children of the churches be found in the gathering-place of those murderous people—not now, not ever! And that is why I have said this now: so that these things no longer take place.
But not only to men do I address these comments, but also to the women, through their husbands. For indeed, I know that most of the crowd that is drawn to go there is composed of women. Now then, the blessed Paul says, "Husbands, love your wives"; and again, "The wife should fear her husband." But I am seeing neither wives' fear nor husbands' love. For if the wife feared her husband, she would not have dared to go. If the husband loved his wife, he would never have allowed and tolerated her going. For what is worse than this outrage, I ask you? A free and believing woman goes out of the house and goes off to a synagogue? Does she know any other place at all, apart from [p. 46] the church and the time spent there? But if she were going off to a lover, would you not have stood up? Would you not have been inflamed? Would you not have posted guards on all sides? But as it is, you do not see her going off to commit adultery with a man, but going off to [be with] demons—and you allow this impiety? If she commits a transgression against you, you punish her; but if she commits outrage against her Lord, you overlook it? If she wantonly abuses your marriage, you are a harsh and inexorable judge; but if she tramples on the covenants with God, you are careless and slack? How can these [offenses] be worthy of forgiveness? And yet, God does not act that way, but rather in the opposite way: When he himself is outraged, he overlooks it; when you are treated that way, he punishes. Do you wish to learn that he honors your affairs more than his own? "If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift before the altar, and go—first be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift."
 Pradels et al., pp. 24-25.
 I.e., the human race as a whole (cf. Lampe s.v. φύσις II.A.6).
 Lit., "the baptism of water."
 Lit., "Why [would you] not [have to say that it is weak], if you only keep it in part?" I.e., the fact that you do not keep all of it shows that you think it is weak / defective in some way.
 Ecclus. 2.12.
 Cf. section 2.4 of this Homily / Discourse.
 Gk. ἀκαίρως–i.e., after the coming of Christ. Cf. Homily / Discourse 1, section 2.3.
 Gal. 5.2.
 Gal. 5.4.
 Gk. ὅταν...παράνομοςᾖ[or ᾗ -- in the Greek text, Pradels et al. seem to have smooth breathing, but the translation assumes rough breathing] γινόμενοςκαὶβδελυρὸςὢνἀπελεχθείη... Pradels et al. interpret ἀπελεχθείη as a form of ἀπολέγω (with augment anomalously retained in the optative) and further, presumably reading ᾗ and treating γινόμενος as equivalent to a finite verb, translate, "Wenn…in der Art und Weise, wie es vollzogen wird, widergesetzlich ist und, weil es greulich ist, hätte verboten werden können…" I would probably be more inclined to correct ἀπελεχθείηtoἀπελεγχθείη, and translate, "and would be condemned as abominable / loathsome…" In that case, the remaining anomaly would be the switch from subjunctive to optative.
 Deut. 16.5-6. See Pradels et al., p. 35 n. 3, regarding the Greek and Hebrew expressions used here for calling a name 'over / upon' someone or something – i.e., in English idiom, calling someone 'by' a certain name.
 Dan. 9.18.
 Deut. 16.13.
 Gk. προσήλυτος.
 Deut. 16.14-15.
 Deut. 31.10-11.
 It is strange that Chrysostom stresses fasting in connection with Tabernacles (Sukkot), especially considering that he is adding words of his own following the Biblical citation. The part of Deut. 16.14 that he does not cite contradicts this (εὐφρανθήσῃ), and in general, it is supposed to be a joyous festival, not a fast. Cf. the confused order in Homily / Discourse 1.1 (Trumpets, Tabernacles, fasts); D. S. Ben Ezra, The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity (Tübingen, 2003), pp. 68-69, refers to these and other early Christian and pagan confusions about the precise content of Jewish festivals. On the other hand, in Homily / Discourse 7.1, the correct order (Trumpets, fasts, Tabernacles) appears. It may be that because the urgent occasion for Chrysostom here is the fast (leading up to Yom Kippur), the idea of fasting spills over to other areas (Homily / Discourse 2.1). Alternatively, some confusion in the recording or transmission of the text may have occurred.
 Deut. 12.13-14.
 Lev. 17.1-4.
 Lev. 17.4.
 A strange phrase, possibly corrupt. Pradels et al. translate: "Weil er seine Opfer nicht hingebracht hat vor den Eingang des Zeltes der Bezeugung, sagt er dann."
 Lev. 17.7.
 Gk. σωφροσύνη.
 Lev. 17.5.
 Lev. 17.7.
 Hos. 4.13.
 Jer. 3.2.
 Ezek. 8.
 Or, "The reverse was the case for you, by comparison with all women…"
 Ezek. 16.34.
 Ezek. 16.33.
 Heb. 9.22.
 Ps. 136.3.
 Ps. 136.4.
 Zech. 7.5.
 Dan. 3.38 [Prayer of Azariah 15].
 Deut. 12.13.
 Amos 4.5 (LXX with variant – singular "confession"). NETS, following the standard LXX, translates, "…called for confessions."
 Gk. τὰγινόμενα.
 Gk. θέατρον.
 Gk. φιλανθρωπία.
 The "Trumpets" are a reference to the Rosh Hashanah celebration. I.e., he is turning back from criticism of the Jews to criticism of the Judaizing Christians.
 Mt. 5.28.
 Eph. 6.13-17.
 Jn. 1.1.
 1 Cor. 15.52.
 Jn. 19.37; cf. Zech. 12.10.
 Alternatively, "I leave it to your conscience."
 Eph. 5.25.
 Eph. 5.33.
 Mt. 5.23-24.
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