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Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society
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Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society


Baker Academic, Holy Cross Orthodox Press 2008

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


Wealth and poverty are issues of perennial importance in the life and thought of the church. This volume brings patristic thought to bear on these vital issues. The contributors offer explanations of poverty in the New Testament period, explore developments among Christians in Egypt and Asia Minor and in early Byzantium, and connect patristic theology with contemporary public policy and religious dialogue.

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Key Features

  • Examines the early Christian perspectives of need and surplus
  • Addresses the subject of wealth and poverty with a patristic mind while utilizing key texts
  • Contains cultural, historical, and theological analyses


  • The New Testament Period
  • Egypt in Late Antiquity
  • John Chrysostom, the Cappadocians, and Friends
  • Wealth, Trade, and Profit in Early Byzantium
  • Patristic Studies for Today


  • David Brakke
  • Rudolf Brandle
  • Denise Kimber Buell
  • Daniel Caner
  • Francine Cardman
  • Demetrios J. Constantelos
  • Steven J. Friesen
  • Gorge Hasselhoff
  • Angeliki E. Laiou
  • Brian Matz
  • Wendy Mayer
  • Edward Moore
  • Timothy Patitsas
  • Adam Serfass
  • A. Edward Siecienski
  • Annewies van den Hoek
  • Efthalia Makris Walsh

Praise for the Print Edition

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, Willard Prescott and Annie McClelland Smith Professor of Religious Studies, Brown University

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

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 philanthropos and to recall his saving actions also require 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

This collection of essays has a number of strengths. Clearly, the study is driven by a serious interaction with key patristic texts addressing wealth and poverty. . . . A second area of notable strength in Wealth and Poverty is that a concerted effort was made to define poverty in the patristic period. . . . Susan Holman has done a noteworthy job of editing a volume of diverse essays that address an important question in patristic studies. As an academic resource, this text might be used in a graduate-level patristics seminar. In the very least, it should be listed as a useful secondary source for early Christian research projects.

Journal of Early Christian Studies

This volume should contribute to studies in poverty and patristics as a reference work. . . . In a seminary level study of poverty several of the essays would be quite helpful.

Trinity Journal

Product Details

About Susan R. Holman

Susan R. Holman 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

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