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Bibil Identifier bibil:224387
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) Charity and Reciprocity: Structures of Benevolence in Rabbinic Literature
Author Novick, Tzvi
Journal Harvard Theological Review (Volume: 105, Issue: 1)
Year (Publication) 2012
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2012
Year (Copyright) 2012
Year (Reference) 2012
Language English
Pages 33-52 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract In his recent book, Seth Schwartz explores “[t]he tension between egalitarian solidarity and competitive reciprocity” in the late Second Temple period and in rabbinic Judaism. As Schwartz's characterization of reciprocity implies, it stands at odds with egalitarianism because exchange, outside the boundaries of the market, is ordinarily structured by asymmetry, and thus by the hierarchical relationships of patronage and dependence. For Schwartz, Judaism's “natural” proclivity, at least as enshrined in the Torah, is toward egalitarian solidarity. To obviate the need for the “dependence-generating gift,” the Torah mandates wealth transfer to the poor through charitable donation (leaving unharvested the corner of one's field, etc.). Charity, unlike the gift, does not generate the obligation to reciprocate: “[t]he pauper, like the priest, is meant to feel no gratitude—at least not toward the donor.” Given this innate preference for solidarity, the problem for late antique Judaism in a patronage-dominated Mediterranean society lay specifically in “how to come to terms, Jewishly, with the practical inevitability of social institutions founded on reciprocal exchange.”
DOI 10.1017/S0017816011000526
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Milieu : Ancient Judaism : Important Persons and Movements : Talmudic Period : Rabbinism : Themes
Thesaurus BiBIL : Milieu : Ancient Judaism : Themes : Purim
Thesaurus BiBIL : Old Testament (Introduction) : Theology : Themes : Ethics
Terms צִדְקָה צדקה
Last modification 2017-10-27