Does the soul struggle with the body? Selected aspects of anthropology of St. John Chrysostom


This article takes the theme of the fight of the soul with the body and presents selected items of anthropology of St. John Chrysostom. John Chrysostom examines the human situation after original sin in the eschatological aspect and indicates that the body is not the cause of evil, because sin is the consequence of free choice man. Then presents the relationship between the body and the soul, and stresses that the body is subordinate to the soul, to whom falls the responsibility for the deeds of the body. The soul is immortal by the will of God and his dignity tran­scends the body. The Preacher explains that the worldly biological life doesn’t mean real life. John Chrysostom in teaching on man understands the word „spirit” not as a living soul, that is to say, the spiritual element of the man, but as the „Holy Spirit”, of course, without the recognition of the role of anything of the soul. Con­sequently, the struggle between body and spirit means the fight between earthy concern resulting from the inappropriate desires of the soul caused by an evil spirit, and the Holy Spirit, who is the giver of life. This is not the ontological fight between body and soul, but the moral struggle of life and death. In this respect, John Chrysostom says, that the hostility of the soul to the body is simply hostility of evil to the virtues, which in fact means the fight between the living (which aims to virtue) and the dead (in the broad people’s iniquity) soul.


John Chrysostom; anthropology; soul; body; spiritual warfare

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Joannes Chrysostomus, De prohetiarum obscuritate hom., PG 56, 185
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Published : 2015-07-15

Szczur, P. (2015). Does the soul struggle with the body? Selected aspects of anthropology of St. John Chrysostom. Vox Patrum, 63, 129-141.

Piotr Szczur 
Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II  Poland

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