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Seek the Welfare of the City: Christians as Benefactors and Citizens

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The first Christians were members of households, possibly associations, and certainly cities in the first-century Graeco-Roman world before they embraced the preaching of the gospel. This new six-volume series, which gathers contributors who are specialists in the intersection of the New Testament with the Graeco-Roman world, seeks for the first time to describe systematically the challenges, difficulties, and necessary adjustments involved in being a Christian to Graeco-Roman society in the various spheres of life.

In this first volume, Seek the Welfare of the City, Bruce W. Winter maps out the role of obligations of Christians as benefactors and citizens in their society. Winter’s scholarly insight is enhanced through the selective use of important ancient literary and nonliterary sources. Contrary to the popular perception that early Christians withdrew from society and sought to maintain a low profile, this outstanding study explores the complexities of the positive commitments made by Christians in Gentile regions of the Roman Empire.

  • Examines the civic obligations and privileges of Christians
  • Explores the role of Christians as citizens
  • Investigates the complexities of the positive commitments made by Christians in Gentile regions of the Roman Empire

Early Christians as Benefactors

  • Seeking the Welfare of the City
  • Civic Honours for Christian Benefactors
  • From Secular Clients to Christian Benefactors
  • Widows and Legal and Christian Benefactions

Early Christians as Citizens

  • Civic Responsibility
  • Civil Litigation
  • Civil Obligations
  • Social Mobility
  • Civic Rights
  • An Early Christian Benefactor and Prominent Citizen
  • Conclusions
Winter’s knowledge of the classical world and his expertise in handling Graeco-Roman literature, papyri and inscriptions are highly impressive. . . A significant contribution to the ongoing discussion of the place of first-century Christians in their social environment. . . A helpful corrective to the view that early Christian communities maintained a low profile and withdrew from wider social involvement. There is a great deal to be learnt from this book. I warmly recommend it not merely to those interested in the social world of the NT, but to anyone concerned with NT social ethics in general.


Winter has provided a notable service to historians of earliest Christianity by collecting a wide variety of Greco-Roman evidence relating to civic activity. . . The straightforward manner in which Winter makes his case should stimulate fruitful debate on this important topic.

Journal of Biblical Literature

This important book breaks new ground and repeatedly drives the reader back to the NT text.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

  • Title: Seek the Welfare of the City: Christians as Benefactors and Citizens
  • Author: Bruce W. Winter
  • Editor: Andrew D. Clarke
  • Series: First Century Christians in the Graeco-Roman World
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1994
  • Pages: 254
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Topic: Graeco-Roman World

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Bruce W. Winter is the former warden of Tyndale House, Cambridge, and a respected authority on the historical background to the New Testament. Much of his work has focused on Christianity in Corinth.


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    Digital list price: $25.99
    Save $9.00 (34%)

    In production