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A Spiritual Economy - Yale Scholarship Online
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A Spiritual Economy

Thomas R. Blanton


Utilizing theories of gift exchange from Seneca to Marcel Mauss and beyond, Thomas Blanton explains the operation of the gift economy at work in the letters of Paul of Tarsus. The book shows how Paul adapted discourses and practices of gift exchange to motivate the transmission of goods and services based on an ethic of reciprocity. In an economy of symbolic goods, Paul posited that gifts proceeding from the god of Israel could be incompletely reciprocated through the donation of money, material goods, labor services, or the extension of hospitality: “spiritual” benefactions were reciprocated ... More

Keywords: Paul of Tarsus, Seneca the Younger, Marcel Mauss, reciprocity, gift exchange, patronage, status, hierarchy, inversion

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780300220407
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300220407.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Thomas R. Blanton, author
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago