Penury and Divine Gift

Susan R. Holman

in The Hungry are Dying

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139129
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834310 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

 Penury and Divine Gift

Show Summary Details


The Cappadocian texts on poverty include an economic construct of the poor as fiscal body, defining themselves according to their penury and being defined as currency and inflationary debt. This chapter considers Basil of Caesarea's homilies 6 and 7, appealing to those with wealth, Gregory of Nazianzus's poem “Adversus opem amantes,” Basil's two sermons on Psalm 14 concerning justice, usury, and debt, Gregory of Nyssa's sermon “Against Usury,” Ambrose of Milan's dependence on Basil in his sermon on Tobit, and the exegetical use of texts on the biblical patriarch Joseph's grain policy in Egypt. These texts illustrate Basil's dominant concern for civic justice and social economic reform to solve the problem of poverty in the community.

Keywords: Ambrose of Milan; Basil of Caesarea; debt; Economics; Gregory of Nazianzus; Gregory of Nyssa; Joseph; justice; usury; wealth

Chapter.  20881 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.