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Price: $29.95


Publisher: Oxford University Press

Susan R. Holman


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God Knows There's Need: Christian Responses to Poverty

The subject of poverty is rich in meanings and associations, among them hunger, stench, disease, disfigurement, shame, revulsion, and loss. It is a topic that has preoccupied the minds and hearts of the faithful since the inception of Christianity.

In this insightful volume, Susan R. Holman blends personal memoir and deep research into ancient writings to illuminate the age-old issues of need, poverty, and social justice in the history of the Christian tradition. Tying these historical texts to modern responses to need, Holman begins with her own encounters with need and describes her discovery of the existence of never-before-translated early Christian texts on responses to poverty, hunger, and disease. Holman explores, for instance, the stories of fourth- and fifth- century bishops responding to social crises of famine, homelessness, and disease, showing how these early Christian writers can be allies for those of us who want to influence our contemporary dialogue about relief and social justice. Throughout this deeply personal and richly scholarly work, Holman looks in particular at three broad, recurring ideas- sensing need, sharing the world, and embodying sacred kingdom- that allow her to bridge the ancient and the modern, and help readers understand more fully these age-old issues.

Susan R. Holman is an academic research writer and editor at the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health. She is the author of The Hungry Are Dying: Beggars and Bishops in Roman Cappadocia.

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