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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The subjects of wealth and poverty are frequently and variously addressed in both the Old and the New Testaments and have been of crucial concern to Christians from the earliest days of the church down to the present day. Yet it would be seriously misleading to suggest that there is either a single or a simple Christian understanding of “poverty.” This chapter describes some of the understandings that have arisen within the Christian tradition. Contemporary reflection on the problem of “poverty” often neglects the deep fear that impedes our thinking and acting on behalf of the poor. If we are tempted to neglect the poor, this is not simply because we are selfish, complacent, and/or ignorant—though surely we are all of these things—but also because we are afraid that sharing our own resources with the poor might somehow threaten our own survival.

Keywords: interdisciplinary, economics, theology, religion, Christianity, poverty, wealth, fear

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