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Paul And The Care Of The Poor During The Sixteenth Century: A Case Study

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Chapter Summary

Poverty and the care of the poor were lofty challenges for sixteenth-century European society. They also became necessary priorities for both the Roman and the evangelical ecclesiastical communities. St. Paul was an important biblical authority for the Roman tradition. However, the questions of whether and how Paul influenced 16th-century poor relief have been left essentially unanswered by modern Reformation scholarship. This chapter intends to serve as a preliminary exploration of those questions. It seeks to offer initial answers. In order to accomplish those goals, the chapter focuses particularly on the poor relief proposals of Johannes Bugenhagen. That focus is justified because the Pomeranian Reformer was one of the most important and influential proponents of the care of the poor during the Reformation period, and his church orders are one of the most extensive collections of 16th-century sources dealing with poor relief.

Keywords: poor relief proposals; reformation period; Roman tradition; sixteenth-century European society; St. Paul



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