International Aid in the First Century: The Jerusalem Collection and its Lessons

This paper sets the collection for Jerusalem in the broader context of other international or extra-local economic assistance and aid, aid across boundaries. It asks what can be learned from the Jerusalem offering in regard to contemporary aid or relief for the poor, in international or cross-cultural settings. Scholars debate the uniqueness of the Pauline Jerusalem collection within its Greco-Roman and Jewish settings. Some argue that the Gentile churches’ help for the poor in the church in Jerusalem has close economic analogies in political and civic benefactions or patronage, in the charitable practices of cults, guilds, and associations, in special collections for civic projects, or in the various forms of aid practiced in Jewish communities. Looking at inscriptional and literary evidence, and despite some overlaps and similarities with other first-century efforts, this paper argues for the distinctiveness of the Jerusalem collection as an international aid project with cross-cultural aspects, rooted in Paul’s messianic and missional worldview.

4 thoughts on “International Aid in the First Century: The Jerusalem Collection and its Lessons”

  1. Where does this fit best?
    First, it would be nice to see clear application, and to see the abstract developed a bit.

    Second, it may fit better in a NT session. The question of rating is not whether it fits well in the Christian Ethics section, but is it a strong proposal, and should it be in the program in some session? I’d like to see it.


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