Paul's Gift from Philippi
Conventions of Gift Exchange and Christian Giving
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages: 260
Width: 14 cm
Height: 21.6 cm
This book is a study of Paul's response to the financial help he received from the church in Philippi whilst he was a prisoner in Rome. Philippians 4.10-20 has always puzzled commentators because of its seemingly strained and tortured mode of thanks. Word studies, psychological studies and literary studies have all failed to provide insight into the text, which is unique in the Pauline corpus. Using contemporary sources Dr Peterman re-examines this difficult passage in the light of Greek and Roman practices and language regarding the exchange of gifts and favours in society. He concludes that 'gift exchange' or 'social reciprocity', with its expectations and obligations, permeated every level of society in Paul's day, and that Paul's seemingly ungracious response was an attempt to create a new, Christian attitude to gifts and to giving.
"Peterman's work also adds to our knowledge of conventions of social reciprocity in the Greco-Roman world and provides weighty countervailing evidence against arguments that would chop the letter to the Philippians into an assortment of separate letters sent at different times." David E. Garland, Journal of Biblical Literature "...Peterman's book is an important contribution to our understanding of the letter and of Paul's rich theology of Christian giving." James Ware, Religious Studies Review