«THE RECEPTION HISTORY OF 2 THESSALONIANS WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, HAIMO OF AUXERRE, AND JOHN CALVIN ANDREW RHETT TALBERT, B.A., ...»
Nevertheless, many scholars observe the mirroring of this figure with Christ, as in their respective parousiai.303 This idea, observed from the early Church, fits well with the concept of apocalyptic antimonies described by Martyn.304 Overall, Chrysostom’s reading contributes to the reading of 2 Thess 2 for several reasons: 1.) in the history of influences, it perpetuates the historically dominant reading of τό κατέχον as the Roman Empire; 2.) it demonstrates speculative restraint with regard to difficult material, and; 3.) he moves beyond repetition of the text or doctrine to meaningful outworking of the material in a specific congregation, which is engendered by his pastoral concern. At the same time that modern scholarship expands by means of these contributions, it offers new insights based on further revelations regarding apocalyptic material and literary relationships.
2.7. General Pastoral Concern One final element, hinted at throughout the chapter, deserves attention as a motivating factor in Chrysostom’s exegesis of 2 Thessalonians: general pastoral concern for the flock. We have seen how certain areas of his homilies Best, Thessalonians, 283–84 and 288–89. See also n. 196 above.
Wanamaker, Thessalonians, 245.
J. L. Martyn, “Apocalyptic Antinomies in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians,” NTS 31 (1985): 410-424.
reflect pastoral concerns as they relate to other influences on his exegesis.
Under this influence specifically, though, two topics merit consideration: love and education.
I. Love305 Viewed as the highest virtue in the early Church, it is no surprise that love becomes a central aspect of Chrysostom’s sermons. Beginning with his second homily, he notices the growth of the Thessalonians’ love for one another (2:3). Drawing attention to the fact that it was “equal on the part of all,” he challenges the divisive love that takes shape in his own congregation as groups become closely knit and withdraw from or exclude other members of the body.306 He rebukes this form of “love” as injurious, characterising it as a misnomer that truly leads to divisions, distractions, and schisms. In its place, he reasserts the love of the Thessalonians, challenging them to love all, even one’s enemies, and offers the particular example of stopping the gossip from speaking ill of another as love toward one another.307 Later, when observing Paul’s humility in request for prayer, he connects this with the love that the apostle had for the Thessalonians and draws an analogy to his own relationship with his congregation. He perceives his own request for prayer as a bold gesture of imitation that is grounded in love. Prayer itself becomes a response of love that binds the body together. In it, Chrysostom sees the potential to form a close community able to forgive wrongs because, in the act of approaching God in prayer, they realise their place in his gracious love. This, he contends, is the reason why Christ asserts, Mitchell describes Chrysostom’s interpretive methodology as a “hermeneutic of love” in which love is the prerequisite for understanding the subject. Mitchell, The Heavenly Trumpet, xix and 31.
John Chrysostom, 2 Thessalonians 2 (NPNF1 13:381).
“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them” (Matt 18:20).308 Lastly, when considering Paul’s prayer that the Lord direct the hearts of the Thessalonians (2 Thess 3:5), he draws attention to the number of paths that draw us away from love, such as “vainglory” (κενοδοξία; one of the logismoi), affliction, and temptations. Chrysostom recognises the correct path as the one that leads toward the love of God. It is a path that includes Christian unity in love. It is a path on which one finds oneself when they demonstrate in living (e.g. despising wealth) their love for God above everything else, and on which they require the guiding assistance of God.309 Again, Chrysostom’s interpretation pushes beyond the historical elements surrounding the text to the subject matter, the Someone who motivates its writing and who continues to speak through it.
II. Education Growing out his own love for his congregation, Chrysostom emphasises the education of his hearers. In general terms, the homilies can be taken as the clearest example of the importance of properly instructing his community. At the same time, when reading 2 Thessalonians, Chrysostom drives home the necessity of teaching. Looking at Paul’s reminder to the Thessalonians, “Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was with you?” (2:5), he reflects on the necessity of repeatedly reading and teaching Scriptures as a means of tending the spiritual “soil” of one’s soul. He pushes the point so far as to encourage his “disciples” to “do the things spoken for your recollection,” so as to express their education concretely. In order to John Chrysostom, 2 Thessalonians 4 (NPNF1 13:391-92).
John Chrysostom, In Epist. ii ad Thess. 5 (PG 62:493).
achieve this, however, the “soil” must be appropriately prepared to receive the repeated instruction and cleared of all “thorns.”310 He asserts further that instruction is not the responsibility of the teacher alone, but is to be taken up by every Christian.
In his final homily, Chrysostom explicates this latter point in relation to Paul’s exhortation that the Thessalonians imitate the example that he gave them (3:7) and the prayer that “the Lord be with [all of]311 you” (3:16). He contends that the prayer belongs to those who “do the things of the Lord.”312 Matthew 28:19-20 gives weight to his interpretation in describing what to “do” (baptise and teach) and the promise of Christ’s presence (conditioned upon the “doing”). Chrysostom then raises the questions he perceives likely to be on the hearts of his congregants. What about those who are not teachers, like Chrysostom? Is Christ present with those not in the occupation of teaching the gospel?313 The Church Father offers one response to address both concerns: every person is a teacher, first of him/herself, and then of others within their sphere of influence (e.g. children, spouses, servants).314 When the congregants apply this practice of teaching the gospel and observing all that Christ has commanded (Matt 28:20), then they can pray for and expect Christ’s enduring presence (2 Thess 3:16; Matt 28:20).
Chrysostom’s interpretation does not cohere with his contemporaries or modern biblical scholars on this passage. Again, he illuminates the divergences of their exegetical aims. Yet, Chrysostom is able to critically John Chrysostom, 2 Thessalonians 3 (NPNF1 13:386-87).
πάντων is not present in Chrysostom’s manuscript.
John Chrysostom, 2 Thessalonians 5 (NPNF1 13:396).
The latter of these questions is implicit.
John Chrysostom, 2 Thessalonians 5 (NPNF1 13:396-98).
evaluate the text and to always return to Scripture’s purpose of orienting its readers to God.
3. Conclusion In summary, we see how multiple influences culminate in Chrysostom’s particular reading of 2 Thessalonians and that the Church Father does not interpret within a hermeneutical vacuum. A variety of elements from his background shape the questions that Chrysostom asks and the emphases
that he makes:
His Antiochene exegetical heritage results in detailed attention to the semantic range of certain terminology, the historical meaning, and the λέξις of the text that leads to θεωρία and practical outworking for his congregation(s).
Second, Chrysostom’s esteem for Paul influences his language and undergirds the bipartite division of his homilies, so that they include both doctrine (i.e. exegesis of Scripture) and praxis. Within this esteem we also see his advocating the emulation of the apostle as an exemplar of virtue and one for whom all things were spiritual.
consideration of both Paul’s aim in writing 2 Thessalonians and how it functions in the receptive community.
Fourth, the well-developed tradition of reading Scripture in its canonical context, shaped by a view of divine authorship of Scripture, guides Chrysostom’s reading of the epistle and enables him to make connections between texts with diverse, human authors.
Perhaps the most theologically significant influence on Chrysostom is his monastic/ascetic background, which helps him to recognise issues related to the logismoi and passions in the text, as well as causes him to advocate a semi-ascetic-moralism in his congregants.
Not satisfied with theological abstraction, Chrysostom also grounds his discussion on hell and apocalyptic material with practical concerns.
Lastly, his general pastoral concern tends to guide much of his discussion of 2 Thessalonians, particularly regarding communal, Christian love and education/instruction in Christian doctrine and living.
The compartmentalisation of these influences is a decidedly false
monasticism/asceticism demonstrate. Furthermore, these impulses are not to be taken as an exclusive or complete list, though they are notably influential.
They provide a greater understanding of how and why Chrysostom reads 2 Thessalonians in the way that he does and, in some cases, how later interpreters receive and expand this reading.
Chapter 3: Haimo of Auxerre
1. Background Haimo of Auxerre arrived on the scene in the wake of the Carolingian reforms, which saw the shift of learning centres from the British Isles to the Continent and the “upgrading of the intellectual qualifications of the clergy, both monastic and secular.”1 Of primary importance was education as preparation for the study of Scriptures. This entailed engagement with the Fathers and the Bible together as inseparable authorities.
Until the twentieth century, Haimo was largely forgotten and the bulk of his works were erroneously attributed to Haymo of Halberstadt (d. 853) or Remigius of Auxerre (d. 908).2 Riggenbach’s rediscovery of Haimo around of the turn of the century3 began the process of reconstructing this historically significant theologian.
The details of Haimo’s origins are unclear.4 He certainly flourished during the Carolingian era at the Abbey of St. Germain in Auxerre, in modernday France, and the bulk of his work came from 840-860.5 Haimo follows the Marcia L. Colish, Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition, ed.
Robert Baldock, The Yale Intellectual History of the West (London: Yale University Press, 1997), 66.
For a more complete list of false attributions, see Johannes Heil, “Haimo’s Commentary on Paul: Sources, Methods and Theology,” in Études d’exégèse carolingienne autour d’Haymon d’Auxerre, ed. Sumi Shimahara, Collection Haut Moyen Âge 4 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), 112–13.
Eduard Riggenbach, Die ältesten lateinischen Kommentare zum Hebräerbrief (Leipzig:
A. Deichert, 1907).
Heil suggests Spain as Haimo’s place of birth because of, among other points, his eventual relocation to Cessy-les-Bois, which was populated at the time by Spanish emigrants, and his apparent alignment with the approach of Theodulf of Orléans over against the insular “exegesis and tradition” adopted by Alcuin and Rabanus Maurus. Heil, “Haimo’s Commentary,” 114–19.
Riggenbach, Die ältesten lateinischen Kommentare, 80; Beryl Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Blackwell, 1952), 39; John J. Contreni, “Haimo of Auxerre, Abbot of Sasceium (Cessy-les-Bois), and a New Sermon on 1 John v, 4-10,” Revue Bénédictine 85 (1975): 310; Louis Holtz, “Introduction,” in Murethach, In Donati artem maiorem (CCCM 40:xxiv); Hughes, Constructing Antichrist, 146. Hughes Oliphant Old, proposes a date for Haimo’s birth around 790, yet somewhat perplexingly suggests the date of his death was in 855, against the scholarly consensus and without any indication as to his significant work of Bede and the Irish scholars (e.g. Admonán6), and was himself educated by the Irish master Murethach.7 The primary indication of Murethach’s influence on Haimo is his use of phrases common to his master as well as grammatical and lexical concerns in his exegetical undertakings.8 Additionally, Haimo has a tendency to incorporate the method of quaestiones into his commentaries, an approach found in Fathers like Jerome, but also highly appropriated by the Irish exegetes.9
Cessy-les-Bois indicates that Haimo was transferred to this abbey from St.
Germain later in his life. He likely died sometime in 875-878.10 decision for this date. Hughes Oliphant Old, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 216; His source is likely Ceslas Spicq, Esquisse d’une histoire de l’exégèse Latine au Moyen Âge (Paris: J.
Vrin, 1944), 50.
The hermeneutical influence of Admonán via Murethach is more abundantly clear in Haimo’s other works, including the commentary on 1 Thessalonians. T. O’Loughlin, “Res, tempus, locus, persona: Adomnán’s Exegetical Method,” in Spes Scotorum Hope of Scots, ed.
Dauvit Broun and Thomas Owen Clancy (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1999), 139–58.
Holtz, “Introduction,” xxix–xxxi, xxxiii–xxxiv; Contreni has challenged this stance insofar as it places Murethach and Haimo in a teacher-student relationship. He suggests instead that they were colleagues in the 830s, John J. Contreni, “‘By Lions, Bishops Are Meant; by Wolves, Priests’: History, Exegesis, and the Carolingian Church in Haimo of Auxere’s Commentary on Ezechiel,” Francia 29, no. 1 (2002): 54; Heil follows Contreni in this regard, arguing further that Theodulf of Orléans was a key theological influence on
Haimo, Johannes Heil, “Theodulf, Haimo, and Jewish Traditions of Biblical Learning:
Exploring Carolingian Culture’s Lost Spanish Heritage,” in Discovery and Distinction in the Early Middle Ages: Studies in Honor of John J. Contreni, ed. Cullen J. Chandler and Steven Stofferahn (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, forthcoming), 118–20.
Shared phraseology includes “ita iungendum; iunctio talis est; ita iungitur; sequitur;
subauditur; subaudis; subaudiendum; ac si diceret; tale est ac si dicat; et est sensus; quare dicat, ipse subinfert (subintulit).” Holtz, “Introduction,” xxx; see also Heil, “Haimo’s Commentary,” 107.