Abstract

This article contributes to discussions on ancient patron-client relationships with a view to God as a benefactor who bestows favors on the early followers of Christ. The perspective sheds light on Paul’s word to the Corinthians that they should not receive God’s grace in vain (2 Cor 6:1), a warning that creates tensions for interpreters who assume that divine grace is freely given without expecting anything in return. This study shows that the system of gift giving and reciprocity, especially in conversation with Seneca, helps alleviate the tensions. It elaborates on gratitude as the proper human response to divine gift giving and undesirable reprisals as the appropriate consequence for ingratitude.

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