Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Remember the Poor: Paul, Poverty, and the Greco-Roman World Paperback – November 12, 2010
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
University of St. Andrews
About the Author
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top Customer Reviews
Longenecker begins by describing the socio-economic dynamics in first-century Palestine: an advanced agrarianism with power resting in the landowning elite and a large segment of manual laborers existing at subsistence levels. It was a culture of "elite acquisitiveness," the elite becoming more elite by gaining more power. The Hebrew prophets condemned unrestrained acquisition, and Jesus took it to a radical new level, condemning honor gained through unjust means that trampled the poor. Longenecker resists simplistic, binary models of the first-century socio-economic spectrum, however, preferring more nuanced models based on careful research rather than rhetorical preferences. He proposes a detailed scale of economic distribution, modifying earlier proposals by Scheidel and Friesen, while warning that generalizations of this nature still lack appropriate nuance.
Despite economic bifurcation, charity was not altogether absent in the Greco-Roman world, but was mostly limited to almsgiving on the basis of various motivations.Read more ›
During the Roman empire, the majority of the free poor--not just the slaves--lived in desperate, even brutal conditions. Tax collectors could force them to pay amounts far greater than Rome demanded. And if the poor were unable to pay, as Pliny once recounted, the tax collector was free to torture them physically until they did--"he tortured their bodies with racks and wheels'" (p 27), or turn them into slaves.
There was no effort on the part of the wealthy to aid the poor. Euergetism or doing good deeds for the civic good, tended to be a matter of personal vanity, not actual charity. The wealthy built temples or baths for everyone in order that their names might be honored.
Seneca actually warned against the emotion of pity, although he thought that the good man might be charitable. Evidence of the elite helping the impoverished masses is so scanty that "The only explicit evidence from the ancient world...comes from Pseudo-Aurelius Victor...at the end of the fourth century...that the emperor Nerva" (p 92) had poor children given food.
Against this background, the Christian view would be a stunning reversal.
Longenecker agrees that Paul did not write about the poor much in his epistles.
However, Paul had argued that Christ brought a new covenant which demanded we love one another.
Previously, scholars have suggested that Paul's request in Galatians to remember the poor "was peripheral and secondary to the main issues of the Jerusalem" (p 157) council.
Yet what does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 when he passionately talks about Christians being one body? He insists we are all one body in Christ. It was "essential to the core identity of Jesus-followers" (p284) to be generous and loving towards one another.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Purchased this book due to the recent scholarship it presents on Paul and poverty. This book should be recommended reading for missional church leaders. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
Bruce Longenecker provides the reader with a clear, well-written exposition of the priority of "Remembering the Poor" and providing for those who do not have within the... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Daniel Mueller