n Journal of Early Christian History - Old age, masculinity, and martyrdom in late antiquity : John Chrysostom and the Maccabean martyrs

Volume 8 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2222-582X
This is currently unavailable for purchase.



The purpose of this article is to investigate the intersections between old age, masculinity, and martyrdom in late antiquity, and it will focus specifically on John Chrysostom’s homilies on the Maccabean martyrs (CPG 4441.13; 4354). After an introduction that provides a literature review and a note on the approach followed, the article begins by examining how old age, virtue, and authority function in Chrysostom’s thought. Thereafter, a brief discussion follows on the problem of the Maccabean martyrs as being part of the old covenant/ Testament. It is argued in this case that there is a direct correlation between Chrysostom’s use of old age in the homilies and the status of the martyrs as being part of the old covenant. Finally, the article considers the dynamics between old age, martyrdom, and masculinity in the homilies. Here it is argued that Chrysostom uses the rhetoric of spiritual athletics and spiritual fertility to present the elderly martyrs as exempla of masculinity, which should not only be admired by Chrysostom’s audience, but also imitated. The Maccabean martyrs are recast by Chrysostom in a pedagogical light, and their narratives serve the promotion of a new Christian masculinity in which ascetic practice, especially moderate ascetic practice, serves as its defining feature.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error