A conversation with Dan Caner about the different kinds of charitable giving in early Byzantium. We talk about the pre-Christian background, the role of institutions, and views about wealth. Was giving primarily good for the soul of the giver, and under what conditions, or for the material assistance of the needy? How could one give to ascetics, who had renounced such needs?
Dan Caner is Professor of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University. He researches late antique social and cultural history, with a special focus on the religious communities of the Mediterranean Middle East, including the Byzantine Empire. Click here to view his university website.
The conversation is based on Dan’s recent book The Rich and the Pure: Philanthropy and the Making of Christian Society in Early Byzantium (University of California Press, 2021).
Byzantium & Friends is hosted by Anthony Kaldellis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics at The Ohio State University. You can follow him on his personal website.
Top Image: Pyx Fragments with the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, dating to the 6th century – image courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art