By Michael Satlow
The reward in Antiquity provides a suite of 14 unique essays that follow French sociologist Marcel Mauss’s concept of gift-giving to the learn of antiquity.
• contains a number of unique essays that conceal such wide-ranging themes as vows within the Hebrew Bible; historical Greek marriage ceremony presents; Hellenistic civic practices; Latin literature; Roman and Jewish burial practices; and Jewish and Christian non secular presents
• Organizes essays round theoretical issues instead of chronologically
• Generates special insights into gift-giving and reciprocity in antiquity
• Takes an explicitly cross-cultural method of the learn of historic background
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Additional resources for The Gift in Antiquity
It was within this early Byzantine culture of worldly gift-giving that Paul’s distinction between gifts given as eulogiai and those given as pleonexia had special significance: a blessing was supposed to be a very different kind of gift, both in spirit and in practice. Evidence of concern for this ideal and for its preservation is reflected in episcopal letters that complain of its abuse (as when Severus of Antioch realized that gifts he had received as blessings had actually been sent to him as bribe, Severus Ant.
Like everyone else, they exchange ordinary goods for everyday uses. The term gift economy can thus be entirely misleading if we fail to understand that ordinary economic activity is subordinate to the central social fact, in which the life of the group is expressed and 18 Marcel Hénaff transfigured. The nature of kula exchange is not economic. Its essential function is to bond different groups through the network of the partners in the exchange. The purpose of celebrations is not for the partners to offer and gain consumer goods, but to give one another tokens and public evidence of their intention to live together.
The innovative features of this definition must be stressed. On the one hand, by redefining material wealth in such a way as to encompass one’s valueless leftovers as well as one’s valuable resources, and on the other, by utilizing an agrarian imagery that recognized the power of seeds to produce a disproportionately high yield seemingly by themselves (9:10, “whoever supplies seeds to the sower … will make the harvest of your righteousness increase”), Paul conjured a new model of charitable gift-giving that emphasized material abundance over self-sacrifice and scarcity.