Thursday, July 16, 2009

John Chrysostom: People Read Themselves into Others

After all, how could the one who despite so many kindnesses was hostile [i.e. Saul] to the man who had done him no harm [i.e. David] come to believe that the wronged man had the wrongdoer in his hands and spared him? I mean, in most cases the general run of people form opinions about others on the basis of their own situation - for instance, the persistent drunkard would not readily believe that someone lives in sobriety, the patron of whores thinks those of spotless life are licentious, and likewise the one who purloins other people's property would not easily be convinced that there are people who even give away their possessions.

- John Chrysostom (around A.D. 347 to around A.D. 407), Homilies on David and Saul, Homily 2, in St. John Chrysostom, Old Testament Homilies, Volume 1, p. 33 (2003), Robert C. Hill translator.