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Charity in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Traditions

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Charity in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Traditions

By Julia R. Lieberman (Edited by), Michal Jan Rozbicki (Edited by)

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Format: Hardback, 274 pages
Published In: United States, 25 July 2017
This collection of essays by a team of international scholars addresses the topic of Charity through the lenses of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The contributors look for common paradigms in the ways the three faiths address the needs of the poor and the needy in their respective societies, and reflect on the interrelatedness of such practices among the three religions. They ask how the three traditions deal with the distribution of wealth, in the recognition that not all members of a given society have equal access to it, and in the relationship of charity to the inheritance systems and family structures. They reveal systemic patterns that are similar--norms, virtue, theological validations, exclusionary rules, private responsibility to society--issues that have implications for intercultural and interfaith understanding. Conversely, the essays inquire how the three faiths differ in their understanding of poverty, wealth, and justifications for charity.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Julia R. Lieberman and Michal Jan Rozbicki Part I: Charity: Some Theoretical Issues Chapter 1: Is Charity a Two-Faceted Janus? "Othering" Gifts vs. Translating Giving and the Intercultural Uses of Human Rights, Mario Ricca Chapter 2: Whose Caritas? Which Receptivity? Roman Catholics in Dialogue across Traditions, Gregory R. Beabout Chapter 3: Interreligious and Intercultural Transfers of the Tradition of Philanthropy, Thomas Adam Chapter 4: Sadaqa as a Sign of Sincerity: Secular and Spiritual Aspects of Charity in Islam, Fatih Harpci Chapter 5: From Welfare to Rights in the Jewish Tradition, Melinda Jones Part II: The Practice of Charity in Judaism, Christianity. and Islam Chapter 6: New Practices of Sedaca: Charity in London's Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Community during the Eighteenth Century, Julia R. Lieberman Chapter 7: From Charity to Philanthropy among the Jewish Elite: Emancipation, Modernization, Ethnicity, and Nationalism, Haim Sperber and Riki Galia Chapter 8: Catholic Reform, the Council of Trent, and the Transformation of Italian Charity, 1500-1800, Philip R. Gavitt Chapter 9: The Perfect Storm: Social Services and Abuse in North American Catholic Maternity Homes, Elizabeth Patricia Rigotti Chapter 10: The Heart of a Heartless World: Relations of Power in Faith-based Responses to the Iraqi and Syrian Refugee Crises, Tahir Zaman Chapter 11: The Practice of Zakat in Northern Nigeria and the Building of Social Relationships, Dauda Abubakar Chapter 12: Jewish and Muslim Charity in the Ottoman Empire: The Fluidity of Religious Boundaries, Yaron Ayalon

About the Author

Julia R. Lieberman is professor of Spanish and intercultural studies at Saint Louis University. Michal Jan Rozbicki is professor of history and director of the Center for Intercultural Studies at Saint Louis University.


Charity in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Traditions presents wide-ranging and nuanced perspectives on the centrality of charity in the three Abrahamic religions, with a strong emphasis on the ways in which these traditions have influenced and shaped one another throughout history. These well-written and provocative essays offer equal parts theoretical framing and particularistic illustration. Each of the pieces included in the volume engages important questions that challenge simplistic formulations of faith and practice in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. How is religiously applied charity both supported and contravened by the intervention of the state? Why must the proper conditions for the receipt of charity be so carefully delineated in sacred scripture? How do the discrete practices around tzedakah, caritas, and zakat (among other concepts of charity) reflect historic change, intercultural influence, and shifting definitions of generosity and need? I highly recommend this book as a source of insight not only into the history of faith-specific charity but into the evolution and development of religious thought and action in the modern world. -- Michael Hoberman, Fitchburg State University This is a deeply moving and timely book. In a world in which social justice too often devolves into posturing or verbal expressions of outrage, these authors analyze how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam use charity to attend to inequality and injustice and repair the world. Attention is paid both to the success and limits of charitable giving over the ages. This study should have wide appeal and utility not only because of its multi- and inter-denominational approach, but also because of its unique combination of theoretical, historical, and theological perspectives. -- Laura Arnold Leibman, Reed College This interdisciplinary collection contains sophisticated perspectives on the underappreciated topic of charity. Theoretically fresh and historically sweeping, these essays offer rewarding case studies, cross-cultural and denominational comparisons, and insights into the workings, achievements, and limits of charitability. In these times of increasing political stinginess, we would do well to reconsider the kinds of exempla from the distant and recent past discussed in this study; their continued relevance and compelling lessons remind us that we so-called postmoderns also have not laid to rest the question of how to help one another. -- Jonathan Schorsch, University of Potsdam For some, it may seem counterintuitive to suppose that delving into the particularities and differences of religious traditions may provide a path to common understanding, but what about the ways traditions show hospitality for the socially different, the vulnerable, the outcast? Might a tradition discover in its teaching on charity a way to think about the intercultural and the 'stranger?' These diverse and interesting essays examine the meaning, role, and history of charity in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions, letting each speak on its own terms, and giving reason to think that our differences need not be a barrier to our humanity. -- R. J. Snell, The Witherspoon Institute Julia R. Lieberman and Michal Jan Rozbicki have assembled a fine and diverse collection of essays by an international body of authors. Much ground is covered, from the religious-linguistic roots of charity in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions to historical and contemporary practices of charity in Europe, North America, Africa, and beyond. The reader helpfully discovers that many tensions inherent to the understanding and practice of charity, including secular-religious, insider-outsider, giver-receiver, generosity-selfishness, and beneficiary-exploited prove to be more alike than not among the Abrahamic religions. -- Christian S. Krokus, University of Scranton

EAN: 9781498560856
ISBN: 1498560857
Publisher: Lexington Books
Dimensions: 23.9 x 15.7 x 2.7 centimetres (0.59 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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