This book explores the dynamics of the discourse of slavery, referred to as doulology, in the homilies of fourth-century priest and bishop John Chrysostom. Drawing on the analytical concepts of Michel Foucault as well as the critical theories of Michel de Certeau and Pierre Bourdieu, the book discusses three presuppositions that are central to the study of slavery: first, slavery was a functional institution in the Roman Empire up to the mid-fifth century; second, the Roman institution of slavery suffered a complete systemic collapse due to the lack of both supply and demand during the years of the disintegration of the later Roman Empire; and third, late ancient Christianity accepted slavery as a necessary social institution. This introductory chapter considers the importance of slavery as a discourse in early Christianity, the basic features of slavery in late antiquity, and the pervasive yet sustaining carcerality of the slave economy. It also explains how the heteronomy of the body shaped early Christian doulology, and in particular, Chrysostomic doulology.
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