Fortress Press

The social context of Paul’s mission and congregations has been the study of intense investigation for decades, but only in recent years have questions of economic realities and the relationship between rich and poor come to the forefront. In Paul and Economics, leading scholars address a variety of topics in contemporary discussion, including an overview of the Roman economy; the economic profile of Paul and of his communities, and stratification within them; architectural considerations regarding where they met; food and drink, idol meat, and the Lord’s Supper; material conditions of urban poverty; patronage; slavery; travel; gender and status; the collection for Jerusalem; and the role of Marxist theory and the question of political economy in Paul scholarship.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506406039
  • eBook ISBN 9781506406046
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 474
  • Publication Date June 15, 2017


Introduction —Raymond Pickett
1. The Roman Economy in the Early Empire—David B. Hollander
2. Urban Poverty in the Roman Empire—Jinyu Liu
3. Economic Profiling of Early Christian Communities—Timothy A. Brookins
4. Paul’s Shift in Economic “Location” in the Locations of the Roman Imperial

Economy—Richard A. Horsley
5. Architecture: Where Did Pauline Communities Meet?—Annette Weissenrieder
6. Paul and Slavery—Ulrike Roth
7. Economic Location of Benefactors in Pauline Communities—Zeba A. Crook
8. Food and Drink in the Greco-Roman World and in the Pauline

Communities—John T. Fitzgerald
9. Socioeconomic Stratification and the Lord’s Supper—Neil Elliott
10. The Economic Functions of Gift Exchange in Pauline

Assemblies—Thomas R. Blanton IV
11. Paul’s Collection for Jerusalem and the Financial Practices in Greek

Cities—John S. Kloppenborg
12. Economic Aspects of Inter-City Travel among the Pauline

Assemblies—Cavan Concannon
13. Marxism and Capitalism in Pauline Studies—L. L. Welborn
14. A New Horizon for Paul and the Philosophers—Ward Blanton


Reviewed in New Testament Abstracts 61.2 (2017)


A must-read work for anyone interested in Paul

“A must-read work for anyone interested in Paul, early Christianity, and economic realities. This collection raises the bar for its combination of sophisticated economic theory, detailed textual analysis, and examination of economic context. At the same time, contributors are careful to situate their work in their current contexts of late capitalism and its recurrent crises. All of this enables a profound shift in our understanding of the agent—Paul—who decisively shaped Christianity itself.”

Roland Boer | University of Newcastle, Australia

This collection should resonate in Pauline scholarship for some time to come.

“We owe editors Pickett and Blanton our thanks for assembling such a distinguished international team to discuss such an important and relevant topic. This collection should resonate in Pauline scholarship for some time to come.”

David Fiensy | Kentucky Christian University

All those who are interested in these socioeconomic questions will find in this book a solid orientation on the state of research

“The economic crisis of 2008 reminded scholars that we must understand the New Testament in the social and economic framework of antiquity. All those who are interested in these socioeconomic questions will find in this book a solid orientation on the state of research, as well as innovative ideas pertaining to the work and theology of Paul. The contributions represent a plurality of methodic and theoretical approaches. But all are useful for those who are interested in the social message of the bible for our days in order to preserve and to promote justice and humanity in our societies.”

Gerd Theissen | University of Heidelberg

In short, Paul and Economics is highly recommended

Paul and Economics is an important, even indispensable, contribution to the many ways that the Roman economy impinged on Paul, his mission, and his churches. Blanton and Pickett have selected a stellar group of scholars from various disciplines who use clear and often new methodologies, provide full documentation of the evidence, engage previous scholarship on their topics, and invite readers to pursue topics of their choice through the copious notes and select bibliographies. Pickett’s introduction to the volume is an especially helpful analysis of each of the following essays and gives the volume cohesion. In short, Paul and Economics is highly recommended and will immediately be an invaluable resource for those who want to set Paul and his churches more fully in the social context of the early Roman Empire.”

Ronald F. Hock | emeritus, University of Southern California

A great addition to our understanding of those times.

“Congratulations on this timely, important book. An incredibly strong collection of authors whose essays engage significant topics. Overall a great addition to our understanding of those times.”

J. Paul Sampley | emeritus, Boston University