Original Research

An inquiry into socio-historical factors contributing to poverty within the Early Church in Palestine

Frederick Kakwata
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 49, No 1 | a1993 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i1.1993 | © 2015 Frederick Kakwata | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 June 2015 | Published: 12 November 2015


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Abstract

This article seeks to investigate the root causes of poverty in the early Christian community.The view that is put forward and argued in this article is that poverty was widespread in early Christianity with particular reference to the converted Jews in Palestine. This was the result of socio-historical factors, namely the Israelites’ contact with Canaanites during the conquest,and the implementation of the secular leadership paradigm derived from those paga n nations around Israel, which led to their subjugation under the oppressive and exploitative and economic structures of the Roman Empire. For that reason many believers, newly converted Jews, at that time were destitute and impoverished as they belonged to the lower classes in society. In spite of this state of affairs, the early Christians in Jerusalem seemed to have faced the challenges of poverty with a measure of success as can be attested by the statement ‘for there was no needy person amongst them …’ (Ac 4:34).

’n Ondersoek na sosio-historiese faktore wat tot armoede binne die vroeë Christelikekerk in Palestina bygedra het. Die doel van hierdie artikel is om die grondoorsake van armoede in die vroeë Christelike gemeenskap te ondersoek met spesifieke verwysing na die bekeerde Jode in Palestina. Die standpunt wat in hierdie artikel gestel en beredeneer word, is dat armoede algemeen in die vroeë Christendom voorgekom het. Dit was as gevolg van verskeie sosio-historiese faktore, waaronder die Israeliete se kontak met die Kanaäniete ná die inname, asook die instelling van die sekulêre paradigma oor leierskap wat Israel aan die naburige heidennasies ontleen het en wat op hulle verknegting onder die Romeinse Ryk se onderdrukkende en uitbuitende strukture uitgeloop het. ’n Groot aantal gelowiges, bekeerde Jode, was in daardie tyd behoeftig en armoedig omdat hulle deel van die laer klasse in die samelewing was. Tog, ten spyte van hierdie omstandighede, het die vroeë Christene in Jerusalem klaarblyklik die uitdaging van armoede met ’n mate van sukses gehanteer, soos die stelling getuig: ‘Nie een van hulle het gebrek gely nie …’ (Hand 4:34).


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