Throughout its first three centuries of existence, the Christian community, while new to the Roman world s pluralistic religious scene, portrayed itself as an historic religion. The early church community claimed the Jewish Bible as their own and looked to it to defend their claims to historicity. While Jews looked to Moses and the Sinai covenant as the focus of their historical relationship with God, the early church fathers and apologists identified themselves as inheritors of the promise given to Abraham and saw their mission to the Gentiles as the fulfillment of God s declaration that Abraham would be a father of many nations (Gen 17:5).
It is in light of this background that Demetrios Tonias undertakes the first, comprehensive examination of John Chrysostom s view of the patriarch Abraham.
By analyzing the full range of references to Abraham in Chrysostom s work, Tonias reveals the ways in which Chrysostom used Abraham as a model of philosophical and Christian virtue, familial devotion, philanthropy, and obedient faith."