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Within both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, the absence of material goods is the foundational meaning of poverty. In Judaism as well as the ancient Roman Empire within which Christianity grew, women, children, and aliens, had no legal standing without the intercession of an adult male patron. Speaking of volition of both God and humans, the chapter says that God's will is to be followed in the distribution of all goods. Although early Christians were hardly in a position to make the alleviation of poverty a matter of law, the early church felt a moral burden to meet the needs of its own members. The chapter addresses three concrete remedies followed by Christian tradition: work, charity, and hospitality, and three remedies related to the practice of virtue: generosity, forgiveness, and Christ-likeness. Responsibility for the alleviation of poverty is also distributed widely among individuals and institutions in Christian thought.
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