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Volume 50, Issue 1, June 2010

Susan Wessel
Pages 147-162

The Morality of Disgust in Jerome and John Chrysostom

Jerome and John Chrysostom explored the disgust and revulsion that people often feel when confronted with the suffering of another human being. They attempted morally to reform their listeners by showing them that they were just as vulnerable as those whom they disparaged, and by breaking down false barriers between the self and other. Jerome presented graphic details of one woman’s ministry to the sick and poor, while Chrysostom criticized the aloof spectator who encouraged the sick and poor to perform. Disgust was thereby re-conceived as an inappropriate response to human suffering.

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