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Daniel Folger Caner
University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products][Prizes]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2015 – 7/31/2016

The Early Evolution of Christian Philanthropy

This book project explores the elaboration of Christian philanthropy and role of church and monastic wealth in promoting an ideal social order in the Roman Empire of the East ca. 350-650 CE ("Early Byzantium"). Using history, philology and gift theory, it explains how and why Christian authorities conceptualized and applied five distinct types of gifts (alms, charity, blessings, fruit-bearings, offerings) to meet a spectrum of religious needs and facilitate different modes of social interaction in a period of great change. Besides establishing the specific relationships, responsibilities, resources and practical challenges associated with each type of gift, the resulting monograph "The Rich and the Pure: Christian Gift and Religious Society in Early Byzantium" will offer a new social and religious history of the first complex Christian society, and an original analytical basis for studying ideals of stewardship and social welfare in later monotheistic societies.