Chrysostom and the Mysteries of Marriage

If you run a Google search on the terms “John Chrysostom” and “sex,” you’ll soon find a mess of conflicting statements. Part of the problem is with the saint’s interpreters, and part of it is with his own voluminous writings — some 700 sermons, 246 letters, plus biblical commentaries, moral discourses, and theological treatises.

When a man publishes so many thousands of words, an industrious enemy can pull together enough strands to make a strong rope for his hanging. And on the subject of marriage, John made it easy for his enemies. Indeed, his paper trail is so ambiguous as to seem bipolar.