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Seek the Welfare of the City
Christians as Benefactors and Citizens
PAPERBACK; Published: 11/15/1994
ISBN: 978-0-8028-4091-2
Price: $ 27.50
254 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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This is a print on demand book and is therefore non- returnable.

The first Christians were members of households, possibly associations, and certainly cities in the first-century Graeco-Roman world before they embraced the preaching of the gospel. This new six-volume series, which gathers contributors who are specialists in the intersection of the New Testament with the Graeco- Roman world, seeks for the first time to describe systematically the challenges, difficulties, and necessary adjustments involved in being a Christian to Graeco-Roman society in the various spheres of life.

In this first volume, Seek the Welfare of the City, Bruce W. Winter maps out the role of obligations of Christians as benefactors and citizens in their society. Winter's scholarly insight is enhanced through the selective use of important ancient literary and nonliterary sources. Contrary to the popular perception that early Christians withdrew from society and sought to maintain a low profile, this outstanding study explores the complexities of the positive commitments made by Christians in Gentile regions of the Roman Empire.
Catholic Biblical Quarterly
"A very interesting study of the public life of early Christians."
"A major sociological-theological study of early Christian activism."
Journal of Biblical Literature
"Winter has provided a notable service to historians of earliest Christianity by collecting a wide variety of Greco-Roman evidence relating to civic activity. . . The straightforward manner in which Winter makes his case should stimulate fruitful debate on this important topic."
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
"This important book breaks new ground and repeatedly drives the reader back to the NT text."
Journal of Theological Studies
"A stimulating study, raising interesting issues."
Librarian's World (Evangelical Church Library Association)
"This notable work represents a great deal of research into the manner Christians behaved in their civil relationships and public life. . . An excellent work, well deserving a place in the church library."
Reformed Theological Review
"The sheet wealth of information and its synthesis places this firmly as a valuable work of (fascinating) social history and minimises the risk of imposing an arbitrary sociological model on the early church."
Stimulus (New Zealand)
"A thorough, professional, stimulating compendium of the social history of the 'apostolic' period of the church."
The Bible Today
"This excellent work studies pertinent texts from Paul's writings and 1 Peter in the light of Greco-Roman traditions about good citizenship."
The Journal of Religion
"Careful and well-documented discussion of public life in the first century. . . This is a useful book, since the author has absorbed a good deal of literature on euergetism in the Greco-Roman world and has used it to illuminate the Christian conception of altruism in the civic sphere."
"Winter's knowledge of the classical world and his expertise in handling Graeco-Roman literature, papyri and inscriptions are highly impressive. . . A significant contribution to the ongoing discussion of the place of first-century Christians in their social environment. . . A helpful corrective to the view that early Christian communities maintained a low profile and withdrew from wider social involvement. There is a great deal to be learnt from this book. I warmly recommend it not merely to those interested in the social world of the NT, but to anyone concerned with NT social ethics in general."
Alanna Nobbs
—Macquarie University
"This book gives us a new and important synthesis of evidence from Graeco-Roman literary texts, papyri, and inscriptions together with the New Testament to illustrate the role played by the early Christians in their cities. Themes of patronage and benefaction are explored in relation to the city life of the Greek East in the Roman Empire. . . . Ancient historians should be urged to consider the evidence the New Testament provides in this area."
David L. Balch
Brite Divinity School
"This interpretation of early Christians' ethical and political lives in Graeco-Roman society challenges the slightly earlier one by Wayne Meeks, who sees Christians' attitude toward the city as an ambivalent middle way. Winter argues that early Christians were urged positively and unambiguously to do good, to contribute to the welfare of the city, with their eyes focused in a heavenly and an earthly direction at the same time. Winter's interpretations of crucial texts in Galatians, 1 Corinthians, and Romans are especially valuable."