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Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society (Holy Cross Studies in Patristic Theology and History) Paperback – June 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Holy Cross Studies in Patristic Theology and History
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; y First edition edition (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080103549X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801035494
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,488,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This is a splendid book, a substantial contribution on a topic of perennial import for scholars of religion and theology. The essays collected here offer important reassessments of scholarship to date. They present fresh, vivid material and provide revised models through which to study, reflect upon, and respond to deprivation and surplus as realities in antiquity and in our own time. Practical, pragmatic considerations are interwoven with cultural, historical, and theological analyses. Excellent work throughout!"--Susan Ashbrook Harvey, professor of religious studies, Brown University

"The social obligations of the wealthy and the needs of the poor in the teachings and practices of early Christians are examined in these essays with rich insight, having much contemporary value. The authors remind us that for the patristic mind, virtue cannot be separated from piety and learning. To praise the living God as philanthrōpos and to recall his saving actions require also a genuine love for human persons, especially the poor."--Thomas FitzGerald, dean and professor of church history and historical theology, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology

"In this collection of essays, the reader will find insightful questions raised and conclusions made concerning the early Christian perspectives of need and surplus. It is refreshing to find careful attention paid to the kind of complexities that existed in the minds of those who wrote, directly or (mostly) indirectly, on these matters."--D. H. Williams, professor of religion in patristics and historical theology, Baylor University

"This volume is a rarity: a collection of conference papers that is both coherent and consistently excellent. Ably edited by Susan R. Holman, these essays explore a wide variety of texts and topics from diverse methodological perspectives, but they never lose sight of the primary theme of the book: the problem of poverty and the appropriate Christian response to it. The outstanding contributors deftly balance theological and rhetorical analysis with attention to social and economic contexts. The result is an essential contribution to the historical reconstruction of early Christian moral traditions and their theological retrieval today."--David G. Hunter, Cottrill-Rolfes Chair of Catholic Studies, The University of Kentucky

About the Author

Susan R. Holman (PhD, Brown University) is the author of The Hungry Are Dying: Beggars and Bishops in Roman Cappadocia, a member of the board of the Pappas Patristic Institute of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and the creator of PovertyStudies.org.

More About the Author

I am an academic writer and editor whose work explores connections between public health, nutrition, human rights, and religious responses to poverty, particularly examples from early Christianity. I started to read at the kitchen table at age 4, where I drove my mother crazy by shouting out every time I recognized the word "the" in her cookbook. My second-grade teacher diverted this exuberance into reading-by-phonetics. One result is that I can read Old Testament names and places in public without blinking but can't parse a sentence unless it is in a foreign language. I was working on creative writing at age 8 and put pen(cil) to my first journal at 9. My first writing award was for poetry in college, but since then the only poem I've written was on the occasion of a friend's episcopal appointment. Teachers pushed me to major in English, but as a crypto-pragmatist, I couldn't see the point. By the time my fourth never-published novel was complete I had accumulated 25 years of rejection slips, so it seemed wise to think about other career options. I'd hoped to become a veterinarian but faint at the sight of blood and am bad at math, so studied food and religion instead. Thanks to Vatican II a certain ex-nun who married an ex-priest was teaching chemistry in our public school and convinced me I could understand it; her atheist colleague in physics worked similar wonders, which (despite the math handicap) enabled me to follow family pressure into the sciences. Meanwhile I kept writing, turning to non-fiction if only so someone would actually read the stuff. A Tufts graduate school nutrition advisor introduced me to her editor at Lippincott. This resulted in my first academic book, a basic nutrition text for entry-level nursing students, published while I was working in public health and clinical nutrition. I specialized in maternal-child health while reading early Christian writings on weekends for fun. At work I was intrigued by how faith-based ideologies shape people's attitudes to poverty, nutrition, and health choices. In my reading I was discovering 4th and 5th century sermons on caring for the poor that nobody had ever translated; they were too "social" for the theologians and too "religious" for social historians; they were also in Greek. By the grace of God and circumstances I was able to return to graduate school to work on these texts, first at Harvard Divinity School, to Brown for a PhD. "The Hungry are Dying" (Oxford 2001) developed from my dissertation; "God Knows There's Need" (Oxford 2009)looks at how such sources can be relevant for us today in a globally multi-faith world. "Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society" (BakerAcademic 2008) belongs to the wonderful group of academics who contributed essays, and to the Pappas Patristic Institute that made the book possible. My work as a scholar, writer, and editor presently continues in several projects: on the history of public health; on religion and human rights; and on sermons on feasts in the church year. [Author photo by Stephen Sheffield]

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You can see the scholarly work behind the scenes. Good project and good collection of authors and opinions. Worth reading for all interested in the subject.
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