“Ta sa ek tōn sōn” (your things from your things) is inscribed on a sixth-century Byzantine chalice now in the Dumbarton Oaks collection in Washington D.C. It gnomically expresses the subject matter of Caner’s excellent new book. In what Caner calls “the first complex and affluent Christian society” (xix)—that is, Byzantium from the age of Constantine to the eve of the Islamic conquests—God’s merciful philanthropia (love of humanity), the Christian inflection of an ancient ideal, rained down benefits on and through the whole of creation. This “sacred wealth” circulated in various forms—a spiritual economy—and ultimately, however imperfectly, the debt was repaid to the divine creditor (1). Caner’s substantial monograph, long in the making, and correspondingly mature and thoughtful, is not therefore a study of “the early Byzantine gift,” although entirely secular giving is an occasional background presence. Nor is it quite a study of “the early Byzantine religious gift,” because,...

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