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Religions 2018, 9(7), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9070201

Almsgiving and Competing Soteriologies in Second-Century Christianity

School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA 91182, USA
Received: 25 May 2018 / Revised: 10 June 2018 / Accepted: 22 June 2018 / Published: 26 June 2018
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Abstract

While care for the poor was widely advocated and practiced in early Christianity, charity was not universally endorsed. The Gospel of Thomas (Gos. Thom.), for example, is notable for its rejection of almsgiving, along with other practices such as fasting and prayer (Gos. Thom. 6, 14; see also Gos. Thom. 27, 104). Ignatius of Antioch accuses some of his opponents of neglecting almsgiving and Polycarp of Smyrna, Ignatius’ friend and fellow bishop, suggests that almsgiving, prayer, and fasting are practices that will help counter false teaching in Philippi. This paper explores the role of almsgiving in competing visions of soteriology in second-century Christianity, including consideration of texts such as 2 Clement (2 Clem), Ignatius’ Letter to the Smyrnaeans (Ign. Smyrn.), Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians (Pol. Phil.), and the Gospel of Thomas. View Full-Text
Keywords: 2 Clement; almsgiving; atonement; charity; early Christianity; Gospel of Thomas; Ignatius of Antioch; Polycarp of Smyrna; resurrection; salvation 2 Clement; almsgiving; atonement; charity; early Christianity; Gospel of Thomas; Ignatius of Antioch; Polycarp of Smyrna; resurrection; salvation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Downs, D.J. Almsgiving and Competing Soteriologies in Second-Century Christianity. Religions 2018, 9, 201.

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