Front cover image for The rich and the pure : philanthropy and the making of Christian society in early Byzantium

The rich and the pure : philanthropy and the making of Christian society in early Byzantium

Daniel Caner (Author)
"As the Roman Empire broke down in western Europe, its stability and prosperity moved decisively to the east, producing history's first truly affluent, multi-faceted Christian society, in what is now known as the Byzantine Empire. What united the twenty-four million people living in this vast realm--Roman citizens all, but as diverse as the landscape itself--was a shared conviction in the Christian ideal of philanthrōpia. In this sweeping cultural and social history of Christian philanthropy, Daniel Caner shows this practice involved more than simply a love of humanity; it required living up to Jesus's injunction to 'Give to all who ask of you' by offering mercy and material aid to every human being, whatever their origin or status. Yet this commitment to the common good arose in an aristocratic society marked by sharp gradations of rank and privilege and dominated by an official church experiencing explosive growth and unprecedented affluence. In tracking the evolution of distinctive ideals and modes of Christian giving over three centuries, Caner brings to the fore the people of Byzantium, from the countryside to the lower levels of urban society to the elites, and the complex, hierarchical relationships that these gifts fostered among them. Drawing on an immense range of evidence, The Rich and the Pure offers nothing less than a portrait of the whole of early Byzantine society"-- Provided by publisher
eBook, English, 2021
University of California Press, Oakland, California, 2021
1 online resource.
9780520381599, 0520381599
Prologue : what is a Christian gift?
Introduction : surviving sources and historical discourses
philanthropy and asceticism as complementary virtues
The present-giving world of early Byzantium
Give to all who ask of you : the challenge of early Byzantine philanthropy
Bend your heart to mercy : almsgiving and the Christian advocacy of social compassion
Give with your whole soul : from alms to charity in early Byzantine monasticism
What God has put in your heart to give : divine patronage, sacred wealth, and material blessings
You are the Firstfruits of the world : monasticism, fruitbearings, and prosperity in the countryside
Imperishable remembrance in heaven and earth : liturgical offerings and the rise of patronal monasteries
Epilogue : when holy men walked the earth