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Acta Theologica

Print version ISSN 1015-8758

Abstract

STANDER, H.F.. Theft and robbery in chrysostom's time. Acta theol. [online]. 2009, vol.29, n.2, pp. 74-85. ISSN 1015-8758.

The aim of this article is to study what Chrysostom said about theft and robbery in his community. His homilies on the New Testament will be scrutinized for information on this negative feature of the ancient world, since homilies are always important sources for information on social issues. It becomes clear that house-breaking was quite common, and that robberies were often associated with violence. Even tombs were robbed and were plundered of valuables. Robbers were severely punished and for a single theft one could spend the rest of one's life in prison. Prisoners were also dependent on their family or on the charity of Christians for food. But Chrysostom also looked at robbery from a theological point of view. He ascribed it to the working of demons. When we are robbed, we are confronted with various choices: we can curse the robber, or we can plot against him, or we can thank God. This study will make a contribution to our knowledge of the social history of the ancient world.

Keywords : Chrysostom; Homilies; Robbery; Social history.

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