Whereas Augustine talks with God as he exegetes the scriptures (see previous post), John Chrysostom talks with the human authors, inquisitively seeking answers from the text itself:
What do you mean, Moses? Is there any comparison at all between the true God and false gods? Moses would reply: ‘I did not say this to make a comparison…’ (Against the Jews, 5.3.3)
What do you mean, David? Is this a strange marvel? No, he said. For this was not the only thing he saw. (Against the Jews, 7.2.5)
What do you mean, Paul? Am I to be subject to God in the same way the clay is to the potter? Yes, Paul says. (Incomprehensible Nature of God, 2.35)
Margaret Mitchell comments at length on the relationship between Chrysostom and Paul, and offers the following translation of a key reflection by Chrysostom:
Continually when I hear the letters of the blessed Paul read… I rejoice in the pleasure of that spiritual trumpet, and am roused to attention and warmed with desire because I recognize the voice I love…, and seem to imagine him all but present and see him conversing with me. (The Heavenly Trumpet, 37)
So the model of dialogical understanding that would later come to be associated with the philosophical hermeneutics of Gadamer is anticipated and exemplified in this instinctive Christian practice of revering and relating to the authors by which God speaks.