Group Survival in the Ancient Mediterranean

Rethinking Material Conditions in the Landscape of Jews and Christians

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Philip A. Harland, Richard Last
  • London: 
    Bloomsbury Academic
    , April
     240 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Philip A. Harland and Richard Last consider the economics of early Christian group life within its social, cultural and economic contexts, by drawing on extensive epigraphic and archaeological evidence. In exploring the informal associations, immigrant groups, and guilds that dotted the world of the early Christians, Harland and Last provide fresh perspective on the question of how Christian assemblies and Judean/Jewish gatherings gained necessary resources to pursue their social, religious, and additional aims.

By considering both neglected archaeological discoveries and literary evidence, the authors analyse financial and material aspects of group life, both sources of income and various areas of expenditure. Harland and Last then turn to the use of material resources for mutual support of members in various groups, including the importance of burial and the practice of interest-free loans. Christian and Judean evidence is explored throughout this book, culminating in a discussion of texts detailing the internal financial life of Christian assemblies as seen in first and second century sources, including Paul, the Didache, Justin Martyr, and Tertullian. In shedding new light on early Christian financial organisation, this volume aids further understanding of how some Christian groups survived and developed in the Greco-Roman world.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Philip A. Harland is professor at York University in the Humanities Department and in the collaborative U of T-York University doctoral programme in Ancient Greek and Roman History.

Richard Last is assistant professor in the Ancient Greek and Roman Studies program at Trent University, Canada.


Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.