Everything In Common? The Theology And Practice Of The Sharing Of Possessions In Community In The New Testament With Particular Reference To Jesus And His Disciples, The Earliest Christians, And Paul -- By: Fiona J. R. Gregson

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 65:2 (NA 2014)
Article: Everything In Common? The Theology And Practice Of The Sharing Of Possessions In Community In The New Testament With Particular Reference To Jesus And His Disciples, The Earliest Christians, And Paul
Author: Fiona J. R. Gregson


Everything In Common?
The Theology And Practice Of The Sharing Of Possessions In Community In The New Testament With Particular Reference To Jesus And His Disciples, The Earliest Christians, And Paul1

Fiona J. R. Gregson

([email protected])

This study examines the practice and theology of sharing possessions in community in the NT by examining six diverse NT examples of sharing. The texts are chosen from across the Gospels, Acts and the Pauline Epistles in order to provide a range of examples of different kinds of sharing including variety in terms of: what is shared; the distance over which sharing happens; the geographical locations that sharing happens in; and practice. Each example is considered in its historical and cultural context before being compared with one or more non-Christian comparator examples to identify similarities and differences. These comparators are examples which show similar situations and practice, and which are likely to be known by or familiar to the community in the NT example (or which were used by others at the time as comparators). Having examined the NT examples and compared them with the non-Christian comparators, the thesis identifies common characteristics across the NT examples and consistent distinctives in how the early church shared possessions compared with the surrounding cultures.

Chapter one provides a brief overview of the literature that addresses questions around possessions in the NT. It observes that despite Panikulum’s focus on communal identity and Saxby’s historical

study of community of goods, most studies focus on individual Christian practice or on policy at a state / economic level. Even Luke Timothy Johnson, who specifically focuses on sharing possessions, concentrates on the individual believer’s relationship with God. In contrast this study focuses on sharing within community and between communities, rather than on: individual believers and their relationship with God; support for specific leaders; or economic policy. Chapter one also explains the rationale for the approach and methodology of this thesis.

Chapter two considers the practice of Jesus and his disciples, focusing mainly on the common purse in John 12:4-8 and John 13:28-29, but also using other Gospel texts that illuminate what may be happening with the common purse, for example Luke 8:1-3. This shows sharing where there are a number of different ways to share and where the common purse was used for buying food and other nee...

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