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God And The Poor In Early Christian Thought

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Chapter Summary

With the recent proliferation of studies on poverty and religion in late antiquity, theologians and scholars may now more effectively nuance traditional studies of 'God in early Christian thought' by engaging with the pervasive and often controversial theme of 'God in the poor.' This chapter briefly discusses two particular aspects of this theme where these issues relate to the doctrine of God in early Christian sources. It discusses how this theme is-or is not-evident in a number of examples of early Christian rhetoric concerning issues of 'heterodox' christology. It reflects on two sources, one text and one early Christian image, as examples of how the needy poor effectively disappear in the eschatological focus on that very same text-Matthew 25:31-46-that is best known for this classic rhetorical association of the poor with Christ.

Keywords: Christian philanthropy; early Christian thought; God; heterodox christology



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