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Pragmatics, Preaching and Social Change in Late Antiquity: The Sermons of John Chrysostom

Isabella Sandwell, University of Bristol, Fellow 2008/09

The past three and a half months have been a very productive time. When I arrived at Dumbarton Oaks, I had good knowledge of John Chrysostom’s homilies on Genesis and had carried out extensive reading in cognitive approaches to literature and communication. During my time here, I have been able to consolidate my knowledge of these cognitive approaches and begin applying them to Chrysostom’s first ten homilies on Genesis. Writing up these ideas for my research report and for a paper delivered at the Antioch day at Catholic University has greatly clarified my thinking. I now have a clear idea of how I will organize the research for my book on cognitive and pragmatic approaches to John Chrysostom’s preaching and the kinds of arguments I will be making. Some of the material used in the papers delivered at Dumbarton Oaks and Catholic University will be used in an essay to be published in a collection I am co-editing with a colleague at Bristol University entitled Delivering the Word: Audience Reception of Exegetical Preaching in Western Christianity. My main goal for my time at Dumbarton Oaks was to write an article showing the problems and benefits of using cognitive approaches to John Chrysostom’s preaching. By the end of my time here, I will have completed a draft version of this article with the aim of submitting to a suitable journal later in the summer. During my time here, I also gave a paper in the Classics Department of Harvard University.

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