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Early Christian Care for the Poor

  • By K. C. Richardson
Product Description
Beginning with Jesus's ministry in the villages of Galilee and continuing over the course of the first three centuries as the movement expanded geographically and numerically throughout the Roman world, the Christians organized their house churches, at least in part, to provide subsistence insurance for their needy members. While the Pax Romana created conditions of relative peace and growing prosperity, the problem of poverty persisted in Rome's fundamentally agrarian economy. Modeling their economic values and practices on the traditional patterns of the rural village, the Christians created an alternative subsistence strategy in the cities of the Roman empire by emphasizing need, rather than virtue, as the main criterion for determining the recipients of their generous giving. ""Did the early Christians have a different view toward feeding the hungry than the Greek and Roman pagans? Did the church's view on charity for the poor change over time? These are questions answered by Richardson's monograph. In the process, he may not only set the record straight but admonish the contemporary church. This is a timely and important study. Both professors and pastors should read it."" --David A. Fiensy, Author of Christian Origins and the Ancient Economy ""Scholar and student alike will benefit from K.C. Richardson's book--scholars by virtue of his extensive references and students from the book's readability. Every reader will enjoy learning about the early Christians' creation of an 'alternative subsistence strategy in the cities of the Roman empire.'"" --Rick Talbott, Chair, Religious Studies Department, CSUN ""It takes a village. Richardson's case for an alternative subsistence strategy better accounts for the literary evidence than other, more ideologically driven treatments of the topic. The result is a book impressive in its scope, balanced in its presentation, and judicious in its conclusions."" --David L. Matson, Professor, Hope International University ""Richardson has given us a refreshing analysis--from the ground up, so to speak--of early Christian care for the poor. Social historians have recently challenged the traditional two-class model for social stratification in the Roman world, arguing for the additional presence of a 'middling class, ' which possessed some discretionary resources. Richardson argues that early Christian leaders challenged such persons . . . Highly recommended for social historians and others interested in early Christian relational solidarity."" --Joseph H. Hellerman, Professor, Talbot School of Theology ""Drawing on the most recent analyses of ancient economies in the Roman world, Richardson richly rewards his readers as he invites them to take a fresh look in that context at the evidence for overlooked continuity in the early Christians' responses to the needy poor in their midst, from Jesus of Nazareth to Cyprian of Carthage. Their innovative practice of village morality in urban contexts raises important questions about contemporary Christian practices. Strongly recommended."" --S. Scott Bartchy, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles K. C. Richardson is Professor of History and Biblical Studies at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. He is coeditor of One in Christ Jesus (Pickwick, 2014).

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  • Additional Details
  • Additional Details
    Product Specs
    • SKU: 9781498296526
    • Manufacturer: Cascade Books
    • ISBN 13: 9781498296526
    • Publication Date: 08/01/2018
    • Format: Paperback
    • Author: K. C. Richardson
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