Abstract

The motivation behind Paul's collection for the personae miserae (e.g., widow, orphan, and stranger) of the Jerusalem church has been interpreted in a variety of ways. Sze-kar Wan's and David Downs's assessments of the collection as a cultic act are attractive but face competing interpretations. In this study, I employ a socio-anthropological method like those of Mary Douglas, Catherine Bell, and Gerald Klingbeil, which accommodate a careful observation of formal similarities and vast ideological differences between Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian models of exchange. Based on the comparison I will propose that out of the many models of exchange by which Paul might have been influenced and from which he might have drawn to frame his exhortation in 2 Cor 8–9, Paul chose the triennial tithe model that is peculiar to the book of Deuteronomy. This could lend further support to Wan and Downs in their assertions that Paul's collection for the personae miserae of the Jerusalem church should be read in light of OT sacrifice. The presentation of material will employ a combination of lexical, intertextual, and sociological methodologies over three sections.

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