On Almsgiving and the Therapy of the Soul
Author: Junghun Bae
In recent years, there has been significant scholarly focus on John Chrysostom’s appropriation of ancient psychagogy, demonstrating that he was a skilled Christian physician of the soul who sought to promote the somatic and psychological health of his congregation by proposing preaching and various ascetic disciplines as medical treatments.
In these studies, however, relatively little attention has been devoted to his use of philosophical therapy in relation to almsgiving. To address this, this book aims to take a closer look at Chrysostom’s view of almsgiving and soul therapy within the context of ancient philosophical therapy. Ancient philosophers identified passions (πάθη), desires, and distorted thought as the diseases of the soul and developed various kinds of cognitive and behavioural remedies to cure these. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach between Greco-Roman philosophy and social ethics in early Christianity, particularly in the tradition of the Greek Fathers, what follows pursues a giver-centered analysis which has largely been ignored in the previous receiver-oriented research.