Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)




This thesis seeks to master the field of scholarly discourse surrounding John Chrysostom's motivations and aims for his theology of wealth and poverty. The study takes care to situate Chrysostom in his social, political, and theological contexts. Then the paper sets out to examine ancient attitudes toward Chrysostom and his theology. Then a comprehensive description of modern Chrysostomic studies is attempted. These approaches are grouped into three broad categories. The first is the theistic factor category, which encompasses scholars who understand Chrysostom primarily from a theological standpoint. The second category is the social-scientific approach. Practitioners of this method seek to examine Chrysostom through the scrutiny of social history. The third and final category involves an approach that takes seriously the ways in which Chrysostom was shaped by desert monasticism. These divergent approaches combine to form a robust dialogue about a man of lasting influence in the area of wealth and poverty. The study does read each source critically by acknowledging strengths and weaknesses. The thesis also seeks to synthesize the approaches in order to construct a solid framework through which Chrysostom can be accurately read. Finally, the thesis seeks to interject Chrysostom's Late Ancient theology into the contemporary and emerging Christian conversation regarding the disparity between the wealth of North American Christians and the poverty of Majority World Christians. Chapter one introduces the reader to Chrysostom and the major proposals concerning his motivations and aims. The survey of these proposals reveals the three major categories within Chrysostomic studies: the theistic factor, social-scientific, and the influence of desert monasticism. The chapter also provides a brief biography and an introduction into the social and political mores of Late Antiquity. Chapter two offers a summary of the theology in question. Chrysostom's generative notions center around his belief that the primitive divine so

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