This book presents the James W. Richard Lectures, which Peter Brown delivered at the University of Virginia in 2012. In recent books, Brown has explored themes of wealth, poverty, and charity in Christian communities in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. This time, the “poor” that Brown studies are not the involuntary or working poor but “the holy poor,” persons who willingly abandoned normal means of self-support for religious reasons and thus relied on others for their material well-being. Recognition of, and charity to, the holy poor raised questions about labor and the nature of the Christian community, issues about which Christians did not always agree. The New Testament had left them conflicting messages. “Give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven,” Jesus exhorted (Matthew 19:21). Yet Paul commanded, “Anyone unwilling to work should not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10), while also suggesting that some,...
Treasure in Heaven: The Holy Poor in Early Christianity. By Peter Brown (Charlottesville, University of Virginia Press, 2016) 162 pp. $22.95
David Brakke; Treasure in Heaven: The Holy Poor in Early Christianity. By Peter Brown (Charlottesville, University of Virginia Press, 2016) 162 pp. $22.95. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2016; 47 (3): 398–399. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/JINH_r_01019
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