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The Jerusalem Collection as Κοινωνία: Paul's Global Politics of Socio-Economic Equality and Solidarity*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 June 2012

Julien M. Ogereau
Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Sydney 2109, Australia. email:


This article endeavours to look at the Jerusalem collection from a fresh perspective by examining the language of κοινωνία Paul employs to describe the project in Romans 15.26 and in 2 Corinthians 8.4 and 9.13. After adducing oft-neglected literary and documentary evidence, this essay argues that Paul's audience must have understood κοινωνία to bear significant political and socio-economic implications. This article concludes that the collection was aimed at establishing a new order of socio-economic equality and solidarity among the emergent Christ-believing communities, at both a local and global level, and across socio-cultural and ethnic divides.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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1 Note: There is no need to understand the term πτωχοί mentioned in Rom 15.26 (cf. Gal 2.10) as referring to an eschatological self-designation adopted by the Jerusalem believers, as has been propounded by K. Holl and D. Georgi, but persuasively refuted by L. E. Keck. In Paul, the word never bears an eschatological connotation, but always seems to qualify a state of socio-economic depression (apart from Gal 4.9). As recent socio-economic studies have confirmed, poverty must have characterised the majority of the inhabitants of Palestine as well as most of the members of Pauline communities. See Holl, K., ‘Der Kirchenbegriff des Paulus in seinem Verhältnis zu dem der Urgemeinde’, Sitzungsbericht der Berliner Akademie (1921) 920–47Google Scholar; Georgi, D., Remembering the Poor (Nashville: Abingdon, 1992) 1718Google Scholar, 33–4; Keck, L. E., ‘The Poor among the Saints in the New Testament’, ZNW 56 (1965) 100–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Keck, , ‘The Poor among the Saints in Jewish Christianity and Qumran’, ZNW 57 (1966) 5478CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Jeremias, J., Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (London: SCM, 1969) 87144Google Scholar; Safrai, Z., The Economy of Roman Palestine (London: Routledge, 1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Meggitt, J. J., Paul, Poverty and Survival (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1998)Google Scholar; Stegemann, E. W. and Stegemann, W., The Jesus Movement (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1999) 104–36Google Scholar.

2 This seems to have remained the name of the colony until at least the Flavian period. See Walbank, M. E. H., ‘What's in a Name? Corinth under the Flavians’, ZPE 139 (2002) 251–64Google Scholar.

3 Although they seemed eager at first (2 Cor 8.10), they soon retracted. Downs understands their reticence to be ethnically related. Mitchell esteems it is Paul's ‘risky rhetorical strategy’ in 2 Cor 8, which she thinks immediately follows 1 Corinthians, and his supervision of the collection that angered them. Downs, D. J., The Offering of the Gentiles (WUNT 2/248; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008) 117Google Scholar; Mitchell, M. M., ‘Paul's Letters to Corinth: The Interpretive Intertwining of Literary and Historical Reconstruction’, Urban Religion in Roman Corinth (ed. Schowalter, D. N. and Friesen, S. J.; Cambridge: Harvard University, 2005) 307–38Google Scholar.

4 Augustus and his wife, for instance, showed themselves well-disposed towards the Jews and offered gifts and sacrifices in the Jerusalem temple out of their own revenues (Philo Legat. 157, 317–319). For other epigraphic evidence of gentile benefactors see, for example, MAMA 6.264 = CIJ 766; cf. Lifshitz, B., Donateurs et fondateurs dans les synagogues juives (Paris: Gabalda, 1967) #33, 34–6Google Scholar. Regarding a possible soup kitchen in Aphrodisias in which ‘god-fearers’ took part, see Reynolds, J. M. and Tannenbaum, R., Jews and God-fearers at Aphrodisias (Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 1987)Google Scholar; cf. Judge, E. A., New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity, 9 (Macquarie University: Ancient History Documentary Research Centre, 2002) #25, 7380Google Scholar. The real identity of these ‘god-fearers’ remains a moot question. The term θεοσεβής itself may not necessarily reflect pious commitment but benevolent attitude towards the Jews (e.g., Poppaea, Nero's wife, is called θεοσεβής by Josephus in Ant. 20.195). See Lieu, J., Neither Jew Nor Greek? (London: T&T Clark, 2002) 3168Google Scholar, esp. 37–40.

5 Munck, J., Paul and the Salvation of Mankind (Atlanta: John Knox, 1959)Google Scholar; Nickle, K. F., The Collection (Naperville: Allenson, 1966)Google Scholar; Georgi, Remembering; Wan, S., ‘Collection for the Saints as an Anticolonial Act’, Paul and Politics (ed. Horsley, R. A.; Harrisburg: Trinity International, 2000) 191215Google Scholar.

6 Holl, ‘Kirchenbegriff’; Berger, K., ‘Almosen für Israel’, NTS 23 (1977) 180204CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Joubert, S., Paul as Benefactor (WUNT 2/124; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000)Google Scholar.

7 That is to say, it was aimed at fostering unity and solidarity between the Gentile and Jewish sections of the church. See Cullmann, O., ‘The Early Church and the Ecumenical Problem’, AThR 40 (1958) 181–9Google Scholar, 294–301; Munck, Paul, 290; Hainz, J., Koinonia (Regensburg: Pustet, 1982)Google Scholar; Wan, ‘Collection’; Downs, Offering.

8 Horrell, D. G., ‘Paul's Collection: Resources for a Materialist Theology’, EpR 22.2 (1995) 7483Google Scholar; Vassiliadis, P., ‘The Collection Revisited’, Deltion Biblikon Meleton 11 (1992) 4248Google Scholar; Meggitt, Paul, 159; Downs, Offering. The names herein cited are those of the main proponents. A neat classification is somewhat difficult as scholars' positions can often overlap, as is the case with Munck, Wan, or Downs, for example. For a more exhaustive and up-to-date review of the literature see Downs, Offering, 3–26. Cf. McKnight, S., ‘Collection for the Saints’, Dictionary of Paul and his Letters (ed. Hawthorne, G. F. and Martin, R. P.; Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1993) 143–7Google Scholar.

9 Horrell and Vassiliadis are two notable exceptions. See Vassiliadis, P., ‘Equality and Justice in Classical Antiquity and in Paul: The Social Implications of the Pauline Collection’, SVTQ 36 (1992) 51–9Google Scholar; and Horrell, ‘Collection’.

10 Betz, H. D., 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 (Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985) 68Google Scholar.

11 Betz, 2 Corinthians, 68.

12 Wan, ‘Collection’, 196, hints in this direction but without elaborating any further.

13 Cf. Vassiliadis, ‘Equality’, 59: ‘Paul's emphasis was not upon social transformation as such, but upon the formation of an ecclesial (eucharistic) reality that inevitably became the decisive element in creating a new social reality of justice and equality’ (italics original).

14 Typically, E. Bammel comments that Paul ‘does not devote particular attention to these matters… His eschatological orientation is too strong to allow him to seek amelioration of conditions which are in any way tolerable’. E. Bammel, ‘πτωχός’, TDNT 6.910.

15 Meggitt's work remains fundamental in this respect. More recently, his main arguments have been further explored by S. J. Friesen, who has also proposed some possible ideological reasons for this neglect. These suggestions have been strongly contested by J. M. G. Barclay, however. See Friesen, S. J., ‘Poverty in Pauline Studies: Beyond the So-called New Consensus’, JSNT 26 (2004) 323–61Google Scholar; Friesen, , ‘The Blessings of Hegemony: Poverty, Paul's Assemblies, and the Class Interests of the Professoriate’, The Bible in the Public Square: Reading the Signs of the Times (ed. Kittredge, C. B., Aitken, E. B., and Draper, J. A.; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2008) 117–28Google Scholar; Barclay, J. M. G., ‘Poverty in Pauline Studies: A Response to Steven Friesen’, JSNT 26 (2004) 363–6Google Scholar. For more recent contributions, see Longenecker, B. W. and Liebengood, K. D., eds., Engaging Economics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009)Google Scholar; and Longenecker, B. W., Remember the Poor (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010)Google Scholar. On poverty in the ancient world in general, see Atkins, M. and Osborne, R., eds., Poverty in the Roman World (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Harris, W. V., ‘Poverty and Destitution in the Roman Empire’, in Rome's Imperial Economy (Oxford: Oxford University, 2011) 27–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

16 LSJ, s.v. λογεία. Cf. Deissmann, A., Bible Studies (Winona Lake: Alpha, 1979) 142–3Google Scholar, 219–20; Deissmann, , Light from the Ancient East (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1965) 104–5Google Scholar; Moulton, J. H. and Milligan, G., Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1930) 377Google Scholar; BDAG, s.v. λογεία; G. Kittel, ‘λογεία’, TDNT 4.282–3.

17 Mitchell, ‘Letters’.

18 Notice also the repetitions of προθυμία (8.11, 12, 19; 9.2), σπουδή (8.7, 8, 16), and τὸ θέλειν (8.10).

19 A precise categorisation of Paul's various usages of χάρις is difficult here. For a detailed discussion see Harrison, J. R., Paul's Language of Grace in its Graeco-Roman Context (WUNT 2/172; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003) 294303Google Scholar. Cf. G. W. Griffith, ‘Abounding in Generosity: A Study of Charis in 2 Corinthians 8–9’ (Ph.D. diss., University of Durham, 2005).

20 For a good review of scholarship on this matter, see Thrall, M. E., Second Corinthians (ICC 2; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1994) 149Google Scholar; Betz, 2 Corinthians, 10–25. For a more recent contribution, see Mitchell, ‘Letters’.

21 Harrison, Grace, 294–344. Cf. Wan, ‘Collection’, 215, for whom ‘2 Corinthians 8–9 is…an anti-patronal statement’. See also Friesen, S. J., ‘Paul and Economics: The Jerusalem Collection as an Alternative to Patronage’, Paul Unbound (ed. Given, M. D.; Peabody: Hendrickson, 2010) 2454Google Scholar.

22 On the language of reciprocity specifically, see Harrison's crucial contribution, despite the earlier work of Joubert, Benefactor. On the application of the concept of ‘brokerage’ to Paul's relationship with the Corinthians, see the recent article by Briones, D., ‘Mutual Brokers of Grace: A Study in 2 Corinthians 1.3–11’, NTS 56 (2010) 536–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

23 The term is never found in Josephus, but it occurs 79 times in Philo (Opif. 1.51, 106; Cher. 1.105; Sacr. 1.27; Plant. 1.122; etc.). The adjective ἴσος is much more common, however (e.g., Exod 30.34; Lev 7.10; 2 Macc 9.15).

24 Windisch, H., Der zweite Korintherbrief (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1924)Google Scholar 258. Thus I agree with Georgi as to its Hellenistic origin, but disagree with his interpretation of 2 Cor 8.13 (viz., ἐξ ἰσότητος = ἐκ θεοῦ), which fails to apply to v. 14. See Georgi, Remembering, 84–91, 138–40. Cf. G. Stählin, ‘ἴσος’, TDNT 2.345–8; Betz, 2 Corinthians, 67–8; and Vassiliadis, ‘Equality’.

25 LSJ, s.v. ἰσότης. Cf. OCD 3, 771, isonomia and isopoliteia; and Jones, J. W., The Law and Legal Theory of the Greeks (Oxford: Clarendon, 1956) 7292Google Scholar.

26 Cf. Dupont, J., ‘La communauté des biens aux premiers jours de l’église (Actes 2, 42.44–45; 4, 32.34–35)’, Etudes sur les actes des apôtres (Paris: Cerfs, 1967) 516–8Google Scholar; Johnson, L. T., ‘Making Connections: The Material Expression of Friendship in the New Testament’, Interpretation 58 (2004) 160Google Scholar.

27 ‘What Paul had in mind in v 13 was no doubt the Greek virtue which played such a large role in law, politics, and morality’. Betz, 2 Corinthians, 67–8.

28 This approach is not completely foreign to the Jewish tradition. Philo himself applies the same passage to the equitable, proportional distribution of food at the Passover festival (Quis Her. 191–3). Cf. Windisch, Korintherbrief, 259; Betz, 2 Corinthians, 69; and Griffith, ‘Generosity’, 182–217.

29 Griffith, ‘Generosity’, 216.

30 G. Stählin, ‘ἴσος’, TDNT 2.348.

31 For most Greek city-states, ἰσότης was only conceivable among the male citizen body of a particular city. For examples of prejudice towards other ethnicities, see Isocrates 3.54, 170; 4.157–160; 5.16–17; 8.89; or Demosthenes' derogatory comments against Philip of Macedon, ‘a barbarian from no honourable place, whence no decent slave can even be purchased’ (Demosthenes, Or. 9.31). Admittedly, this kind of animosity was as much politically motivated as ethnically related, but it is difficult to separate the two. Cf. Jones, Theory, 84–5. For evidence of ethnic tension in Egypt between Greeks or Romans and Jews or Egyptians, see for instance BGU 1210, SB 9564, or the letters of Claudius and Caracalla to the Alexandrians (P.Lond. 1912, P.Giss. 40). Similar tensions might have existed among the Jews themselves (if one takes the terms Ἑλληνιστής and Ἑβραῖος as ethnic markers; cf. Acts 6). Secondary literature on the topic of ethnic identity and interaction in the ancient world is constantly growing. For a recent study of Luke's discourse of ethnic negotiation and hybridity in Acts (with a rich bibliography), see Barreto, Eric D., Ethnic Negotiations: The Function of Race and Ethnicity in Acts 16 (WUNT 2/294; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010)Google Scholar.

32 In 2 Cor 9.13, only the RSV, NAS, and ESV translate κοινωνία as ‘contribution’, while other versions prefer ‘fellowship’ or ‘sharing’. In 1 Cor 1.9; 2 Cor 13.13; and Gal 2.9, ‘fellowship’ is the term mostly employed (NKJ, RSV, NAS, NIV, ESV; the NJB translates as ‘partners/partnership’ in 1 Cor 1.9 and Gal 2.9, while the NKJ has ‘communion’ in 2 Cor 13.13). For other instances of the term in 1 Cor 10.16; 2 Cor 6.14; 8.4; Phil 1.5; 2.1; 3.10; and Phlm 6, the words ‘participation’, ‘sharing’, ‘partnership’, are more frequently used. Betz is one of the rare commentators to translate κοινωνία as ‘partnership’ in 2 Cor 9.13, while Furnish shows some awareness of this possible connotation. Betz, 2 Corinthians, 124; Furnish, P. V., II Corinthians (AB 32A; New York: Doubleday, 1984)Google Scholar 401, 412.

33 Seesemann, H., Der Begriff ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ im Neuen Testament (Giessen: Töpelmann, 1933) 28–9Google Scholar; F. Hauck, ‘κοινός’, TDNT 3.808. Seesemann‘s interpretation may have been influenced by earlier translations, as is often the case in NT lexicography, according to J. A. L. Lee. Notably, the Vulgate (e.g., the 1598 Clementine version: collationem aliquam facere), the translations by Luther (1522) and Tyndale (1526), and the KJV (1611)—the versions upon which all future English and German translations have depended in significant ways—all show this understanding. Cf. Lee, J. A. L., A History of New Testament Lexicography (New York: Lang, 2003) 3144Google Scholar.

34 So Dunn, despite an informed discussion on the significance of κοινωνία. Dunn, J. D. G., Romans 9–16 (WBC 38B; Waco: Word, 1988Google Scholar) 870, 875. Cf. Dodd, C. H., The Epistle of Paul to the Romans (MNTC; London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1932Google Scholar) 231; Barrett, C. K., A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (BNTC; London: Adam & Charles Black, 1957)Google Scholar 278; Fitzmyer, J. A., Romans (AB 33; New York: Doubleday, 1993) 721–2Google Scholar; Moo, D. J., The Epistle to the Romans (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996) 898, 903–4Google Scholar. But see Jewett, R., Romans (Hermeneia; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006) 927–8Google Scholar; BDAG, s.v. κοινωνία.

35 Seesemann, ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ, 29. Seesemann was actually somewhat puzzled at first: ‘Paulus bezeichnet hier mit κοινωνία die Kollelte selbst; das geht aus dem Zusammenhang eindeutig hervor. Es fragt sich aber, wie κοινωνία diese Bedeutung erhalten konnte’ (28).

36 Campbell, J. Y., ‘ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ and its Cognates in the New Testament’, JBL 51 (1932) 373Google Scholar.

37 See Jourdan, G. V., ‘ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ in I Corinthians 10:16’, JBL 67 (1948) 114Google Scholar; Bori, P. C., ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ (Brescia: Paideia, 1972) 84–6Google Scholar; McDermott, J. M., ‘The Biblical Doctrine of ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ’, BZ 19 (1975) 7172Google Scholar, 225. Hainz is not totally convinced by Seesemann's arguments; nonetheless, he understands Rom 15.26 as referring to ‘diese Konkretion der Gemeinschaft im Gemeinschaftswerk der paulinischen Gemeinden’. Hainz, Koinonia, 110–12, 144–54. Others, still, prefer to emphasise the theological dimension of κοινωνία. See Panikulam, G., Koinōnia in the New Testament (Rome: Biblical Institute, 1979) 57Google Scholar.

38 Peterman, G. W., ‘Romans 15:26: Make a Contribution or Establish Fellowship?NTS 40 (1994) 457–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Cf. Seccombe, D. P., Possessions and the Poor in Luke–Acts (Linz: Fuchs, 1982)Google Scholar 205, who notes that κοινωνία never has such concrete significance in Philo's corpus either.

39 Peterman, ‘Romans’, 463.

40 E.g., Polybius 5.35.1; Plato Resp. 371B, and a second-century inscription published by Rostowzew. See Rostowzew, M., ‘Die Domane von Pogla’, JÖAI 4 (1900) Beiblatt 3746Google Scholar.

41 E.g., P.Flor. 1.41; SPP 20.15; P.Corn. 12; SEG 40.394; Gonnoi 2.111; I.Magnesia 44. A full list will appear in an appendix to my dissertation.

42 The expression ‘κοινωνία τῶν ἱερῶν/θυσιῶν’ is to be understood as referring to the ‘joint participation, by persons entitled through birth or invitation, in ceremonies and sacrificial food and in the blessings which rested thereupon’. Ferguson, W. S. and Nock, A. D., ‘The Attic Orgeones and the Cult of Heroes’, HTR 37 (1944) 156CrossRefGoogle Scholar (cf. 76).

43 Endenburg observed many similar usages in literary sources. See P. J. T. Endenburg, Koinoonia en gemeenschap van zaken bij de Grieken in der klassieken tijd (Amsterdam: H. J. Paris, 1937) 105–49.

44 Within the (oldest) Augustana recension (I), MS Augustanus Monacensis 564 alone has the variant ‘ποιησάμενοι’ instead of ‘σπεισάμενοι’. The later Vindobonensis (II) and Accursiana (III) recensions both have ‘ποιησάμενοι’. Hausrath, A. and Hunger, H., Corpus fabularum Aesopicarum, vol. 1 (Leipzig: Teubner, 1970) 180–8Google Scholar. Cf. Perry, B. E., Aesopica, vol. 1 (Urbana: University of Illinois, 1903) #149, 378–9Google Scholar.

45 Contrary to Hausrath and Hunger, Perry, Aesopica, #151, 379–80, prefers the witness of MSS Novoebor. Pierponti Morgan 397 and Paris suppl. gr. 690 (both of recension I).

46 Only in recensions II and III.

47 On the use of ὀπώρας to designate the fruit-harvest season during late summer, see LSJ, s.v. ὀπώρα. Cf. Xenophon Hell. 3.2.10: ἀπὸ ἠρινοῦ χρόνου πρὸ ὀπώρας.

48 This meaning is reinforced by the preceding clause: οὐδὲ συστῆναι. Cf. also two similar expressions in Diodorus: συμμαχίαν ποιήσασθαι κατὰ τῶν Σπαρτιατῶν (Diodorus 15.62.3); συμμαχίαν ποιησάμενος πρὸς Ἀλέξανδρον τὸν τῶν Μακεδόνων βασιλέα (Diodorus 15.67.4). In both cases, a political alliance is clearly in view, as H. Bengston also understands: ‘Der im wesentlichen durch die Anstrengungen des Demosthenes begründete Hellenische Bund beruhte auf einem gemeinsamen Freundschaftsvertrag zur gegenseitigen Hilfeleistung (κοινωνίαν βοηθείας καὶ ϕιλίας, Demosthenes, Or. 9.28–29)’. Bengston, H., Die Staatsverträge des Altertums, vol. 2 (Munich: Beck, 1975) 332Google Scholar.

49 Endenburg has collected a number of insightful examples in classical literature. See Endenburg, Koinoonia, 28–32, 65–7, 108–12.

50 See Mitchell, S., ‘The Treaty between Rome and Lycia of 46 BCE’, Papyri Graecae Schøyen, vol. 1 (ed. Pintaudi, R.; Firenze: Gonnelli, 2005) 163250Google Scholar. Cf. Follet, S., Année Epigraphique (2005), #1487, 514–20Google Scholar.

51 The long string of genitives is to be understood as being in apposition to ‘ἡ πόλις Ἰουλιέων τῶν καὶ Λαοδικέων’ found at the beginning of the inscription.

52 For political partnership, see for instance Plato Leg. 969c: ἀλλὰ δεήσεσιν καὶ μηχαναῖς πάσαις κοινωνὸν ποιητέον ἐπὶ τὴν τῆς πόλεως κατοίκισιν; Herodianus Ab excessu divi Marci: ὃν κοινωνὸν τῆς βασιλείας Μᾶρκος ποιησάμενος; Xenophon Hell. 2.3.19: βουλομένους τοὺς βελτίστους τῶν πολιτῶν κοινωνοὺς ποιήσασθαι τρισχιλίους. For partners in crime, see Antiphon 5.68: ὥσπερ οἵδε ϕασὶν ἐμὲ τῆς μὲν ἐπιβουλῆς οὐδένα κοινωνὸν ποιήσασθαι τοῦ θανάτου. For partnership with a god in sacrifices, see Plato Ep. 7.350c: σὺ μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων βίᾳ τινὰ τρόπον σύσσιτον καὶ συνέστιον καὶ κοινωνὸν ἱερῶν Διονυσίῳ ἐποίησας; Demosthenes Or. 19.280: ἐπὶ ταῖς θυσίαις σπονδῶν καὶ κρατήρων κοινωνοὺς πεποίησθε. For conjugal partnership, see Xenophon Oec. 7.30: συζευγνὺς ἄνδρα καὶ γυναῖκα· καὶ κοινωνοὺς ὥσπερ τῶν τέκνων ὁ θεὸς ἐποίησεν (underlining mine).

53 This attitude starkly contrasts with that of Roman senators, who, during their conflict with the plebeians, were accused of being unwilling to associate politically and share of their prosperity with the humiliores: ἀπολίτευτα καὶ ἀκοινώνητα πρὸς τοὺς ταπεινοτέρους ϕρονοῦντες (Dionysius Ant. Rom. 6.80.4).

54 L. and J. Robert, Claros 1: Décrets hellénistiques (Paris: Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1989), Col. 1, l. 12, pp. 11–17, 44. Robert (p. 22) indeed explains that χορηγία ‘a le sens de “fourniture”, tout ce que l'on peut donner, fournir, que ce soit argent, blé, frais pour une construction, huile, navires’. Cf. SEG 39.1243. Note: the real mechanics of ἔρανος loans between ‘friends’ remain a debated question (especially concerning the presence or absence of interest), although it seems quite clear that their purpose was to assist with urgent personal financial needs occasioned by weddings, banquets, funerals, ransoms, or even manumissions. See LSJ, s.v. ἔρανος; OCD 3, 553; Ziebarth, E., ‘Ἔρανος’, PWRE 6 (1909) 328–30Google Scholar; Millett, P. C., Lending and Borrowing in Ancient Athens (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1991) 153–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Finley, M. I., Studies in Land and Credit in Ancient Athens (New York: Arno, 1973) 85–7Google Scholar, 100–106; Cohen, E. E., Athenian Economy and Society (Princeton: Princeton University, 1992) 207–15Google Scholar; Cohen, Review of P. C. Millett, Lending and Borrowing in Ancient Athens, BMCR 03.04.10, n. p. Online: (accessed 30/10/2011).

55 Robert, Claros, 22.

56 Campbell, ‘ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ’, 373–4, himself admits that the meaning of κοινωνία in Heb 13.16 is ‘closely akin to that of Rom 15.26’, and bears the ‘sense of “partnership”, “going shares in an enterprise”, rather than the vaguer sense of “fellowship”’.

57 Cf. Betz, 2 Corinthians, 46, 124.

58 Acts 2.42; Heb 13.16; and 1 John 1.3, 6–7, are the only six other occurrences.

59 I would argue that this sense need not be pressed except perhaps in 1 Cor 1.9, 2 Cor 13.13, and Phil 2.1, where Paul attributes to κοινωνία a more theological connotation.

60 Betz, 2 Corinthians, 46.

61 Etymologists generally agree on this obvious link. See Chantraine, P., Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque (Paris: Klincksieck, 1968) 552–3Google Scholar; Frisk, H. von, Griechisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, vol. 1: A–Ko (Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universität, 2d ed. 1973) 892–3Google Scholar; Beekes, R., Etymological Dictionary of Greek, vol. 1 (Leiden: Brill, 2010)Google Scholar 731. Cf. LSJ, s.v. κοινωνέω.

62 Cf. LSJ, s.v. κοινός; Moulton and Miligan, Vocabulary, 350. On the infelicitous use of the term ‘guild’ to refer to ancient professional associations, see Finley, M. I., The Ancient Economy (Berkeley: University of California, 1973) 137–8Google Scholar. Cf. Scheidel, W., Morris, I., and Saller, R., eds., The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2007) 338–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

63 de Romilly, J., La douceur dans la pensée grecque (Paris: Les Belles lettres, 1979)Google Scholar 49 n. 1.

64 By contrast, the Jews' exclusive sense of πολίτευμα could sometimes cause them to be perceived as ‘μηδὲ κοινωνεῖν’ with the other nations (Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.257–258). Cf. Balch, D. L., ‘Two Apologetic Encomia: Dionysius on Rome and Josephus on the Jews’, JSJ 13 (1982)Google Scholar 119 n. 47.

65 See Millett, Lending, 52.

66 The definition of ‘religion’ as a category is itself problematic and the product of post-Enlightenment (Christian) intellectual debates. See B. Nongbri, ‘Paul Without Religion’ (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 2008).

67 Seesemann, ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ, 99.

68 F. Hauck, ‘κοινός’, TDNT 3.804.

69 Seesemann, ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ, 99. For a critique of the philological methodology of the likes of Seesemann and Kittel, see Barr, J., The Semantics of Biblical Language (Oxford: Oxford University, 1961)Google Scholar.

70 In the first instance (Gal 2.9), J. P. Sampley has shown that it possesses a legal and commercial connotation. See Sampley, J. P., Pauline Partnership in Christ: Christian Community and Commitment in Light of Roman Law (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980) 2150Google Scholar. Cf. Campbell, ‘ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ’, 373. For further evidence in support of Sampley's argument, see the section ‘Business partnership among the first Christians?’ in the author's article ‘16. Customs Law of the Roman Province of Asia’, New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity, 10 (ed. S. R. Llewelyn and J. R. Harrison; Macquarie University: Ancient History Documentary Research Centre, forthcoming). In the case of 1 Cor 10.16, κοινωνία (κτλ.) is best understood as simply meaning ‘participation’, as is often the case when it is followed with a genitive of the thing shared. See Campbell, ‘ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ’, 357–8, 375.

71 Harrison, Grace. Cf. the section ‘The χάρις of Augustus’, in J. Ogereau, ‘Customs’, New Documents 10 (ed. Llewelyn and Harrison).

72 Bartchy, Furnish, and Seccombe make a similar connection in passing, but fail to elaborate further. See Bartchy, S. S., ‘Community of Goods in Acts: Idealization or Social Reality?’, The Future of Early Christianity (ed. Pearson, B. A.; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991) 311–12Google Scholar; Furnish, II Corinthians, 419; Seccombe, Possessions, 203. Note: I am well aware of the issue of the authorship of Acts, but for the sake of convenience I shall name its author Luke.

73 So Dupont, ‘communauté’, 504–5: ‘Luc…s'est expliqué lui-même sur ce qu'il entend par la κοινωνία des premiers chrétiens quand il précise, aux vv. 44–45: “Tous les croyants ensemble avaient tout en commun (ἅπαντα κοινά)”’.

74 In 1977, Johnson already noted the ‘considerable attention’ devoted to the topic in NT scholarship. Johnson, L. T., The Literary Function of Possessions in Luke–Acts (Missoula: Scholars, 1977) 1Google Scholar. For a brief review of the history of interpretation and the substantial amount of secondary literature on the topic, see B. J. Capper, ‘Community of Goods in the Early Jerusalem Church’, ANRW 26.2: 1730–74. For a negative assessment see Haenchen, E., The Acts of the Apostles (Oxford: Blackwell, 1971) 190–6Google Scholar; Conzelmann, H., Acts of the Apostles (Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987) 24Google Scholar; Pervo, R. I., Acts (Hermeneia; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009) 8891Google Scholar. For a more positive assessment, see Hengel, M., Property and Riches in the Early Church (London: SCM, 1974) 31–4Google Scholar. This issue of historicity concerns the whole book of Acts in general. See for instance Dibelius, M., Studies in the Acts of the Apostles (London: SCM, 1956) 102–8Google Scholar; Haenchen, E., ‘The Book of Acts as Source Material for the History of Early Christianity’, Studies in Luke–Acts (ed. Keck, L. E. and Martyn, J. L.; London: SPCK, 1968) 258–78Google Scholar; Hengel, M., Acts and the History of Earliest Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979)Google Scholar.

75 So Seccombe, Possessions, 209.

76 Grant, R. M., Early Christianity and Society (London: Collins, 1978)Google Scholar 101. Cf. Bartchy, ‘Community’, 312.

77 J. A. Fitzmyer, ‘Jewish Christianity in Acts in Light of the Qumran Scrolls’, Studies in Luke–Acts (ed. Keck and Martyn) 253.

78 Fitzmyer, ‘Jewish Christianity’, 239: ‘the comparison of the early Jewish Christian church with the Essene communities brings out fundamental differences far more than resemblances’. Cf. Haenchen, Acts, 234–5; Hengel, Property, 32–3. The exegetical deductions of Capper, ‘Community’, regarding supposed similarities are much less convincing.

79 The language Iamblichus employs can sometimes be intriguingly close to that of Luke, but linguistic resemblance alone is not sufficient to posit a genealogical relation (e.g., VP 168: κοινὰ γὰρ πᾶσι πάντα καὶ ταὐτὰ ἦν, ἴδιον δὲ οὐδεὶς οὐδὲν ἐκέκτητο. καὶ εἰ μὲν ἠρέσκετο τῇ κοινωνίᾳ). On the methodological difficulties associated with the identification and analysis of such ‘parallels’, see Sandmel, S., ‘Parallelomania’, JBL 81 (1962) 113Google Scholar; White, L. M. and Fitzgerald, J. T., ‘Quod est comparandum: The Problem of Parallels’, Early Christianity and Classical Culture (ed. Fitzgerald, J. T. et al. ; Leiden: Brill, 2003) 1339CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Cf. Mitchell, A. C., ‘The Social Function of Friendship in Acts 2:44–47 and 4:32–37’, JBL 111 (1992) 255–72Google Scholar.

80 On the Pythagorean ‘communistic living’, see Iamblichus, VP 6.20, 17.72, 18.81, 35.257. Cf. Dupont, ‘communauté’, 506; Thom, J. C., ‘“Harmonious Equality”: The Topos of Friendship in Neopythagorean Writings’, Greco-Roman Perspectives on Friendship (ed. Fitzgerald, J. T.; SBLRBS 34; Atlanta: SBL, 1997) 80103Google Scholar. Establishing the authenticity of Iamblichus's account, which was written at least 900 years after the alleged facts, is notoriously difficult. The same problem applies to several (Doric) Neopythagorean excerpts, Pythagorean letters and sayings collections, from the Hellenistic and early Roman periods (although some of these claim to have been written by Pythagoras, Archytas, or Timaeus, they clearly display Platonic, Peripatetic, or Stoic influence). For a helpful discussion on Iamblichus's possible sources and these Hellenistic Neopythagorean fragments, see D. L. Balch, ‘Neopythagorean Moralists and the New Testament Household Codes’, ANRW 26.1: 380–411. Cf. Thom, ‘“Equality”’, 78–93.

81 Acts 4.32 has given commentators most trouble: καὶ οὐδὲ εἷς τι τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐτῷ ἔλεγεν ἴδιον εἶναι. However, as Dupont has pertinently commented: ‘il est clair ici que les chrétiens restent légalement propriétaires de ce qui leur appartient, mais au lieu de le traiter en possession privée, ils le mettent à la disposition de tous. Les biens personnels deviennent “communs”, non par suite d'une aliénation, mais en raison de la libéralité dont usent leurs propriétaires.’ Dupont, J., ‘L'union entre les premiers chrétiens dans les actes des apôtres’, Nouvelles études sur les actes des apôtres (Paris: Cerfs, 1984)Google Scholar 300. Cf. Haenchen, Acts, 192.

82 It is actually debated whether Plato himself believed in the utopia, or whether he meant Socrates' description of Callipolis to be ironic. See Morrison, D. R., ‘The Utopian Character of Plato's Ideal City’, The Cambridge Companion to Plato's Republic (ed. Ferrari, G. R. F.; Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2007) 232–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

83 Cerfaux, L., ‘La première communauté chrétienne à Jérusalem (Act., II, 41—V, 42)’, EThL 16 (1939) 28Google Scholar.

84 For instance, the expression ‘(ἅ)παντα κοινά’ appears in Plato Critias 110C; Plutarch Conjug. 143A; Iamblichus VP 30.168; Lucian Merc. 20; while ‘μία ψυχή’ is attested in Aristotle Eth. Nic. 9.8.2 and Eth. Eud. 7.6.9; Plutarch De Amic. Mult. 96F; Iamblichus VP 30.167–168. This was first noticed by J. Wettstein in 1752, if not earlier by Calvin, according to Johnson, Possessions, 2. For a more detailed list of ancient authors using these aphorisms, see Dupont, ‘communauté’, 505–9, 513–14.

85 Malherbe, A. J., ed., The Cynic Epistles (Atlanta: Scholars, 1977) 76–7Google Scholar, 102–5. For more references, see Dupont, ‘communauté’, 507–9; Seccombe, Possessions, 200–203; Mealand, D. L., ‘Community of Goods and Utopian Allusions in Acts 2–4’, JTS 28 (1977) 9699CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Johnson, ‘Connections’. One should note, however, that there seems to have been a certain variation as to the way these ancient intellectuals understood and applied the saying. See Mitchell, ‘Friendship’, 256–7.

86 See the recent study by Hume, D. A., The Early Christian Community (WUNT 2/298; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011)Google Scholar.

87 Seccombe, Possessions, 208.

88 Mitchell, ‘Friendship’, 258 (emphasis mine). For Keck, ‘The Poor’, 105, his concern was for ‘“eschatological egalitarianism”’.

89 This might be explained by the fact that the Jerusalem model later inspired Paul, or less likely, in my opinion, that Luke used some of the material of Paul's letters to compose his summaries. Cf. Enslin, M. S., ‘Once Again, Luke and Paul’, ZNW 61 (1970) 253–71Google Scholar; Enslin, , Reapproaching Paul (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972Google Scholar).

90 Dupont, ‘communauté’, 512.

91 Cf. Horrell, ‘Collection’, 80 (see especially his conclusion). Meggitt, Paul, 173–5, also somewhat hints in this direction. Regarding the oft-assumed universal ‘ethnical neutrality’ of Paul's vision of the early church and the difficulties of this interpretation, see Hodge, C. Johnson, If Sons, then Heirs (Oxford: Oxford University, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. In his study of Acts 16, Barreto argues that Luke adopts a position somewhat similar to Paul's: ‘Luke does not erase ethnic difference’, but he is ‘carving out a space for this emerging Christian community…by embracing the ambiguities of a hybrid posture’. Barreto, Negotiations, 25.

92 Cf. Wan, ‘Collection’, who interprets the collection as an act of resistance against both Jewish ethnocentrism and Roman imperialism.

93 Indeed, for Hengel, Property, 35: ‘in the long run the form of “love-communism” practised in Jerusalem was just not possible. It was impossible to maintain a sharing of goods in a free-form without the kind of fixed organisation and common production which we find, say, at Qumran’. This is a common interpretation. See for instance Nickle, Collection, 24: ‘it was implemented in what proved to be an unrealistic, short sighted manner’; or Dodd, Romans, 230: ‘Filled with a sense of their unity as “brethren”, they instituted a system of partial and voluntary communism. But they carried it out in the economically disastrous way of realizing capital and distributing as income…when hard times came, the community had no reserves of any kind.’ Cf. Lake, K., ‘Notes XII: The Communism of Acts II. and IV–VI and the Appointment of the Seven’, Additional Notes to the Commentary (ed. Lake, K. and Cadbury, H. J.Google Scholar; Vol. 5 of The Beginning of Christianity, Part I: The Acts of the Apostles, ed. Jackson, F. J. F. and Lake, K.; London: MacMillan, 1933) 147Google Scholar.

94 Haenchen, Acts, 233. Cf. Mealand, ‘Community’, 99.

95 Regarding the concept of equality in particular, Vassiliadis, ‘Equality’, 53–4, remarks: ‘during nearly the whole period of ancient Greek thought, “equality” remained a strictly legal term… It never succeeded in touching what we generally call the “social dimension”’.

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