Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Poverty in the Early Church and Today

Steve Walton and Hannah Swithinbank (eds.), Poverty in the Early Church and Today: A Conversation (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2019).

Thanks to Bloomsbury T&T Clark, the above book has been made available as a pdf free of charge, here, on Knowledge Unlatched.

The book grew out of a conference on ‘Engaging with Poverty in the Early Church and Today’ held at St Mary’s University, Twickenham (London) in December 2015.

Here are some paragraphs from the editors on ‘How the Book Works’.

‘Poverty is one of the most significant challenges our world today faces, and it is a particular challenge for Christians, who follow the Jesus who urges giving to the poor and who includes people in poverty among his highest concerns. The essays in this book offer a fresh angle on debates about poverty by bringing together people who have expertise and experience in alleviating poverty today with people who have expertise in the ancient worlds of the Bible. We bring them together in order to have a conversation about how Christians today might think about and act on poverty issues, informed by the way our ancestors-in-faith responded to poverty in their places and times.

‘We are not simply interested in holding up modern practices to a supposed early Christian example. Rather, we are interested in the complex ways in which the early Christian ideas and practices relate to modern ideas and practices and vice versa. In other words, the conversation in this book aims to address both continuities and discontinuities between the ancient world and today. We are most interested in coming to grips with the full complexity of the matter, in order to inform and engage our readers, whom we hope will include church leaders, people working in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) concerned with poverty and thoughtful people, both Christian and not...

‘The body of the book is a series of sets of four essays, in which we pair an expert in early Christianity in its Jewish and Graeco-Roman settings with an expert in modern strategies for addressing poverty and benefaction. They each address the same topic from their respective areas of expertise in a substantial essay, and then each author responds to their partner much more briefly, identifying points which are mutually informing and stimulating. In this way, we hope we shall both model and encourage profitable conversation between those primarily engaged in today’s world and specialists in the biblical world.’

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