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Syllabus: "Poverty and Wealth in the Early Christian World"

 

About this Course

"Poverty and Wealth in the Early Christian World" was a seminar offered by Professor Susan Ashbrook Harvey to both graduate and undergraduate students at Brown University in the fall of 1998. Below is the syllabus and a complete bibliography of all readings. Posted here with permission.


Description

This course will consider poverty and wealth in the Roman Empire from New Testament times through the sixth century A.D., specifically in terms of their impact on the development of Christianity as a religion. We will thus be attentive to both experiential and interpretive realities: what constituted poverty or wealth in antiquity? What was the life of the poor in the Roman Empire, and what were the obligations of the rich? What material and moral considerations determined the contours of both conditions? Topics include: the meanings of poverty and wealth in Judaic and pagan cultures; Christian notions about poverty and wealth; social class in the early church; the impact of Christianity as a state religion on the social response to poverty and wealth; monasticism and holy poverty; the development of the Christian concept of institutionalized charity.

Required Books

P. Garnsey and R. Saller, The Roman Empire: Economy, Society, and Culture.
K. Bradley, Slaves and Masters in the Roman Empire.
St. John Chrysostom, On Wealth and Poverty.
Peter Brown, Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire.
The Bible.
Coursepacket for the course (see Bibliography below)

Course Requirements

2. A term paper (15-20 pages for undergraduates; 20-25 pages for graduate students) to be presented in the final class sessions. Assignment attached.

3. Class attendance; thoughtful reading and writing. Be prepared to discuss your ideas and reactions to the readings.


Course Plan and Assignments:

All readings given are required for the date shown. The Coursepacket contains all readings other than the required books, with the exception of biblical texts.

Sept. 9 Introduction.

Sept. 16 Material Resources of the Greco-Roman World
Garnsey and Saller, Roman Empire.

Sept. 23 Moral Resources of the Greco Roman World
A. R. Hands, Charities and Social Aid in Greece and Rome , Documents, pp. 175-210.
Stoicism: Political Theory. Long and Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers ,Vol. 1, 429-37.
The Cynic Models: Diogenes the Cynic, Crates, and Hipparchia. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, VI. 20-81, 85-93, 96-99.
Seneca, On Mercy
Seneca, Letter 81, On Benefits.
Plutarch, On Love of Wealth.
Plutarch, Against Borrowing Money.
Moral Exhortation: Conventional Subjects. Malberbe, Moral Exhortation, 144-161.

Sept. 30 New Testament Themes: Synoptic Traditions
Mark 1:6, 16-20; 2:13-14; 4:13-20; 6:8-13; 8:34-37; 10:17-31; 12: 12-17, 41-44;
14:3-9.
Matt. 5:3-12,42; 6:2-4, 19-34; 10:40; 11:18-19; 13:18-23, 44-6; 16: 24-7; 19: 16-30; 20:1-16; 25:31-46.
Luke 1:46-55; 3:10-4; 4: 5-8,17-19; 6:20-26; 7:20-23; 8:1-3, 13-4; 9:3, 23-7, 57-58; 10:4; 12:13-34; 14:7-35; 16:1-31; 17: 28-33; 18:18-30; 19:1-27; 21:1-4; 22: 35-6.
Acts 2:32-5, 42-5; 4:32-7; 5:1-11; 6:1-3; 19:23-41; 20:28, 35.

R. Garrison, Redemptive Almsgiving in the Early Church, chs. 3 and 4, pp. 46-75.
G. Hamel, Poverty and Charity in Roman Palestine, First Three Centuries C.E., ch. 5 and 6, pp. 164-221.
D. Balch, "Rich and Poor, Proud and Humble in Luke-Acts," in The Social World of the First Christians, ed. White and Yarbrough, 214-33.
C. Osiek and D. L. Balch, Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches , chs. 4, 8, concl., pp. 91-102, 193-222.

Oct. 7 Early Churches in Context
Rom. 1:11-12; 6: 15-23; 12; 13; 15:7; 16.
I Cor. 4:9-13; 7:20-24; 9; 12; 16.
II Cor. 8:1-5, 9, 12-15; 9:6-15.
Gal. 3:27-9; 4:1-5:1.
Eph. 4:28; 5: 21-6: 9.
Philemon.
Philippians 2:5-8; 4: 10-23.
Col. 3:18-4:1.

John 2:1-10; 13:20; 15:12-17.
I John 1: 3-7; 3:16-18; 4:7-12, 18-21.
Rev. 3:20, 19:7-8.
Bradley, Slaves and Masters in the Roman Empire.


Oct. 14 The Developing Church
I Tim. 3:1-13; 5:3-16; 6:1-2, 7-10, 17-19.
James 1:27; 2:1-7, 14-18; 5:1-6.
Hebrews 13: 1-6.
1 Peter 2:13-25.

G. Hamel, Poverty and Charity in Roman Palestine, ch. 7, pp. 222-241.
Aristeides, Apology, 15, 16
"Epistle to Diognetus", sec. 5-6.
"Pastor (Shepherd) of Hermas", 3rd Vision, sec. 1-7; 2nd Similitude.
Clement of Alexandria, "Who is the Rich Man that is Saved"?
Cyprian of Carthage, "On Works and Alms".


Oct. 21 After Legalization: The Church in Society
A.H.M. Jones, Later Roman Empire II, pp. 894-911, On Church Finances and Wealth.
On the Eustathians: Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, III.14 ; Canons of the Council of Gangra. Julian the Apostate, Letter to a Priest; Letter 40 to Hecebolius.
Gregory of Nazianzus, On St. Basil (Or. 43), sec. 34-36, 61-63.
Basil of Caesarea, "I Will Pull Down My Barns" (Hom. 6).
Gregory of Nazianzus, "On the Love of the Poor" (Or. 14).
Gregory of Nyssa, "Against Those who Practice Usury," .
Palladius, Dialogue on the Life of St. John Chrysostom, excerpts.
John Chrysostom, Homily 12 on 1 Timothy 4.1-3.
John Chrysostom, Homily 56 on Matthew 16. 28.
St. John Chrysostom, On Wealth and Poverty.
Canons of the Council of Chalcedon
The Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite, sec. 28-45.


Oct. 28 Material and Moral Resources
P. Brown, Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity.


Nov. 4 Holy Poverty: Monastic and Ascetic Responses
Basil of Caesarea, Letters 283, 285, and 150 (excerpt).
Basil, The Long Rules, Questions 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 38, 39, 40.
Augustine, Rules for Nuns (from Letter 211) 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13.
Palladius, the Lausiac History, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 40, 46
Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Anthony, Arsenius, Carion, Olympius, Paphnutius.
The Man of God of Edessa.
S. A. Harvey, "The Holy and the Poor: Models from Early Syriac Christianity," in Through the Eye of a Needle: Judeo-Christian Roots of Social Welfare, ed. Hanawalt and Lindberg , pp. 43-66.
The Syriac Life of St. Simeon the Stylite.
John of Ephesus, Lives of the Eastern Saints, 12 (Mary and Euphemia), 8 (Addai), and 31 (Elijah and Theodore).
John Moschus, the Spiritual Meadow, 136.
Vitae of St. John the Almsgiver.


Nov. 11 [papers]
special library session on Instrumenta Studiorum and electronic resources,
with William Monroe of Collections Development, Hecker Room, Rockefeller Library

Nov. 18 [papers]


[Nov. 25 *** no class - Thanksgiving break ***]


Dec. 2 Student Presentations


Dec. 9 Student Presentations


Final papers due Dec. 18.


Complete Bibliography of Expected Readings for the Course:

1. A. R. Hands, Charities and Social Aid in Greece and Rome (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1968), Documents, pp. 175-210.

2. Stoicism: Political Theory.
A. A. Long and D. N. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), Vol. 1, 429-37.

3. The Cynic Models: Diogenes the Cynic, Crates, and Hipparchia
Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, VI. 20-81, 85-93, 96-99; trans. R. D. Hicks, LCL (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980) Vol. 2, 23-85, 88-97, 98-103.

4. Seneca, On Mercy, from Seneca: Moral Essays, trans. J. W. Basore, LCL (Cambridge; Harvard University Press, 1958) Vol. 1, 357-449.

5. Seneca, Letter 81, On Benefits, from Seneca: Moral Epistles, trans. R. M. Gummere, LCL (Cambridge; Harvard University Press, 1920) Vol. 2, pp. 218-41.

6. Plutarch, On Love of Wealth, trans. P.H. DeLacy and B. Einarson in Plutarch, Moralia, trans. F. C. Babbitt, LCL (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967) Vol. 7, pp. 6-39.

7. Plutarch, Against Borrowing Money, from Plutarch, Selected Essays and Dialogues, trans. D. Russell (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993) 239-45.

8. Moral Exhortation: Conventional Subjects
A J. Malberbe, Moral Exhortation: A Greco-Roman Sourcebook (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1986), 144-161.

9. R. Garrison, Redemptive Almsgiving in the Early Church, JSNT Suppl. Ser. 77 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993) chs. 3 and 4, pp. 46-75.

10. G. Hamel, Poverty and Charity in Roman Palestine, First Three Centuries C.E. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990) ch. 5 and 6, pp. 164-221.

11. D. Balch, "Rich and Poor, Proud and Humble in Luke-Acts," in The Social World of the First Christians: Essays in Honor of Wayne Meeks, ed. L. M. White and O. L. Yarbrough (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995) 214-33.

12. C. Osiek and D. L. Balch, Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1997), chs. 4, 8, concl., pp. 91-102, 193-222.

13. G. Hamel, Poverty and Charity in Roman Palestine, First Three Centuries C.E. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990) ch. 7, pp. 222-241.

14. Aristeides, Apology, 15, 16 (from J. Stevenson, A New Eusebius, rev. ed. W. H.C. Frend, London: SPCK, 1987, pp. 52-55.

15. Epistle to Diognetus, sec. 5-6 (Ante-Nicene Christian Library, ed. A. Roberts and J. Donaldson, Vol. 1: the Apostolic Fathers; repr. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994, pp. 307-309).

16. Pastor (Shepherd) of Hermas, 3rd Vision, sec. 1-7; 2nd Similitude (Ante-Nicene Christian Library, ed. A. Roberts and J. Donaldson, Vol. 1: the Apostolic Fathers; repr. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994, pp. 332-9, 377-9).

17. Clement of Alexandria, on the Salvation of the Rich Man, trans. W. Wilson (Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. A. Roberts and J. Donaldson, Vol. 2: Fathers of the Second Century; repr. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994, pp. 589-604).

18. Cyprian of Carthage, on Works and Almsgiving, trans. R. J. Deferrari; St. Cyprian, Treatises, trans. and ed. R. J. Deferrari, FC 36 (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc. 1958) 225-53.

19. Church Finances and Wealth
A.H.M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire 284-602 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986) Vol. 2, pp. 894-911.

20. On the Eustathians:
Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, III.14
Canons of the Council of Gangra, c. 340 (from J. Stevenson, Creeds, Councils, and Controversies, rev. ed. W.H.C. Frend, London: SPCK, 1989, pp. 2-3).

21. Julian the Apostate, Letter to a Priest; Letter 40 to Hecebolius.
The Works of the Emperor Julian, trans. W. C. Wright, LCL (New York: Macmillan, 1913) Vol. 2, pp. 296-339; Vol. 3, pp. 126-9.

22. Gregory of Nazianzus, On St. Basil (Or. 43), sec. 34-36, 61-63; trans. L. McCauley, in
Funeral Orations by Saint Gregory Nazianzen and Saint Ambrose, FC 22 (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1953) at pp. 56-9, 78-81.

23. Basil of Caesarea, "I Will Pull Down My Barns" (Hom. 6), trans. M. F. Toal, The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers (Chicago: Regnery, 1959) Vol. 3, pp. 325-32.

24. Gregory of Nazianzus, "On the Love of the Poor" (Or. 14), trans. M. F. Toal, The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers (Chicago: Regnery, 1959) Vol. 4, pp. 43-64.

25. Gregory of Nyssa, "Against Those who Practice Usury," trans. C. McCambley, Greek Orthodox Theological Review 36 (1991) 287-302.

26. Palladius, Dialogue on the Life of St. John Chrysostom, excerpts.
trans. R. T. Meyer, FC 45 (New York: Newman Press, 1985) pp. 38-40, 74-86, 94-97.

27. John Chrysostom, Homily 12 on 1 Timothy 4.1-3.
trans. P. Schaff, Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st series, vol. 13 (repr. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), pp. 444-8.

28. John Chrysostom, Homily 56 on Matthew 16. 28.
trans. P. Schaff, Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st series, vol. 10 (repr. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), pp. 345-51.

29. (Select) Canons of the Council of Chalcedon, 451 (from J. Stevenson, Creeds, Councils, and Controversies, rev. ed. W.H.C. Frend, London: SPCK, 1989, pp. 354-7).

30. The Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite, sec. 28-45.
trans. W. Wright (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1882), pp. 19-37.

31. Basil of Caesarea, Letters 283, 285, and 150 (excerpt)
St. Basil, The Letters, trans. R.J. Deferrari, LCL (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962), Vol. 2, 366-9; Vol. 3, 173-5.

32. Basil, The Long Rules, Questions 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 38, 39, 40
Saint Basil, Ascetical Works, trans. M. Wagner, FC 9 (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1950) pp. 239-41, 247-53, 257-63, 311-15.

33. Augustine, Rules for Nuns (from Letter 211) 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13.
trans. E. A. Clark, Women in the Early Church (Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier, 1983) pp. 137-140.

34. Palladius, the Lausiac History, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 40, 46
trans. R. T. Meyer, ACW 34 (Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1965) pp. 37-41, 44-51, 116-7, 123-5.

35. Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Anthony, Arsenius, Carion, Olympius, Paphnutius
The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: the Alphabetical Collection, trans. B. Ward, rev. ed. (London: Mowbray 1981) pp. 1-19, 116-9, 160-1, 202-3.

36. The Man of God of Edessa
trans. F. G. McLeod, in F. W. Nichols, ed., Christianity and the Stranger: Historical Essays (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995) pp. 56-63.

37. S. A. Harvey, "The Holy and the Poor: Models from Early Syriac Christianity," in Through the Eye of a Needle: Judeo-Christian Roots of Social Welfare, ed. E. A. Hanawalt and C. Lindberg (Kirksville, MO: Thomas Jefferson University Press, 1994) , pp. 43-66.

38. The Syriac Life of St. Simeon the Stylite
trans. R. Doran, The Lives of Simeon Stylites (Kalamazoo; MI, 1992), pp. 101-98.

39. John of Ephesus, Lives of the Eastern Saints, 12 (Mary and Euphemia), 8 (Addai), and 31 (Elijah and Theodore).
Ch. 12: trans. S. P. Brock and S. A. Harvey, Holy Women of the Syrian Orient , new ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998) pp. 122-33.
Ch. 8 and 31: trans. E. W. Brooks, Patrologia Orientalis Vol. 17, pp. 124-35; Vol. 18, pp. 576-85.

40. John Moschus, the Spiritual Meadow, 136.
trans. John Wortley (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1992) pp. 111-2.

41. Vitae of St. John the Almsgiver
trans. E. Dawes and N. H. Baynes, Three Byzantine Saints (London: Mowbray, 1977), pp. 193-270.


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