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Almsgiving in the Later Roman EmpireChristian Promotion and Practice 313-450$
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Richard Finn OP

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199283606

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283606.001.0001

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Almsgiving by Monks and Lay Christians

Almsgiving by Monks and Lay Christians

(p.90) 3 Almsgiving by Monks and Lay Christians
Almsgiving in the Later Roman Empire

Richard Finn Op

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at almsgiving by monks and lay Christians. It demonstrates the power to attract alms for redistribution won by those who in self-dispossession gave away their wealth to the poor on adopting the ascetic life of a monk. It shows how monks in particular came to compete with bishops for honour through almsgiving, but also examines the different ways in which lay men and women were encouraged to give alms: at martyrs' shrines, at agapes, at funerals, through the Church, and in direct contact with the poor. In many cases, Christian almsgiving was distinctive in form and meaning from that practiced by pagans.

Keywords:   agape, funerals, funerary alms, honour, hostel, pilgrim, pagan, redistribution, self-dispossession

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