Faith and Wealth: A History of Early Christian Ideas on the Origin, Significance, and Use of Money

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Wipf and Stock Publishers, Apr 16, 2002 - Religion - 240 pages
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Ideas pertaining to economics and social order were central concerns of the early Christian church, yet modern theologians and scholars have paid little or no attention to these issues as important theological questions. This brilliant and thorough study is a history of the views that Christians held of the origin, significance and use of wealth. Justo Gonzalez examines early Christian ideas, beliefs and teachings about the use of money, property, communal sharing and the rights and obligations of rich and poor.

Setting the Christian community in the political, social and economic contexts of the times, Gonzalez highlights the ideas of such prominent writers as Cyprian, Ambrose, Augustine, John Chrysostom, and the Desert Fathers concerning wealth -- noting what traditional scholarship has overlooked. As the author points out, this book is not a social or economic history of Christianity during the first four centuries; it is a history of the views that Christians held on economic matters.

This profound, enlightening and highly readable work of excellent scholarship is a major contribution to the study of the history of Christian thought. It clearly demonstrates that the issues of economics and social justice are central theological concerns, deeply rooted in Christian doctrine and Christian tradition.

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About the author (2002)

Justo L. Gonzalez, a United Methodist minister born in Cuba, is a retired member of the Rio Grande Conference of the United Methodist Church. After his basic college and seminary education in Cuba, he studied at Yale University, where he obtained three degrees: STM (1958), MA (1960), and PhD (1961). In 1961 he joined the faculty of the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico, teaching historical theology, and in 1969 he moved to Atlanta, where he now resides, in order to teach at Candler School of Theology (Emory University). Since 1977 he has been engaged in two main occupations: writing and promoting the theological education of Latinas and Latinos.

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