I realised today that I must be one of the most disadvantaged people on the internet, when it comes to John Chrysostom’s 8 sermons against the Jews.
The politically correct or Jewish know that we must condemn these, since it Isn’t Allowed to say anything that looks anti-Jewish (although the PC seem to think that trying to destroy Israel is fine). But I don’t suffer from the most minute particle of PC-ness, and I am not a Jew.
The Eastern Orthodox know that we must endorse St. John, and if the Jews don’t like it that just shows that the saint was Right Again! But I don’t feel any lure of Orthodoxy whatever.
The orthodox-haters (often PC) know that these sermons are clear proof that the orthodox need to pay compensation to the Jews. But I don’t feel any urge to bash the Orthodox.
The anti-semitic know that this is just one more piece of evidence that the Jews plan to take over the world and silence any criticism. But I don’t feel any urge to promote the new holocaust whatever (except when cornered over breakfast by Jewish nationalists), and I rather think that Israel is a good thing.
It would be easy to decide my attitude to these texts, if I held any of these views. But I don’t. Do I need to? Do I need to sit in judgement over them? If so, why?
C. Mervyn Maxwell, Chrysostom’s homilies against the Jews : an English translation, Thesis (Ph. D.)–University of Chicago, 1967, exists. This predates PC, and so just has good old-fashioned revulsion of the holocaust in mind. I’ve seen it and it’s pretty even-handed. (I did approach the family about getting this online, but was met with a demand for dollars, sadly).
But these translations are incomplete. Sermon 2 is about a third of the length of the others in all the manuscripts. Wendy Pradels discovered the lost portion in a previously unknown manuscript at Lesbos, and fortunately for us all described her discovery in accessible English. A German text and translation exists. So we need someone to translate the new portion into English, and make it freely available online.
Anyone fancy a go?