Journal of Religious Ethics 42 (2):216-242 (2014)

This essay presents Augustine as a rich ethical resource on issues of wealth and poverty. Contrary to prevalent views that he had little to say on issues of economic justice, Augustine decries wealth as morally dangerous, promotes the agency of the poor in advocating for themselves with the wealthy, and supports distributive justice. Augustine envisions an interdependent Christian community where the wealthy not only help the poor, but rely on the poor to help them achieve salvation by “bearing their goods to heaven,” as Augustine describes the receipt of alms. Augustine's view of wealth's moral danger is an apt resource for ethicists interested in virtue. His insistence on poor people's moral agency and interdependence among poor and wealthy speak to pressing issues of justice in today's unequal societies
Keywords poverty  Augustine  Christian ethics  wealth  inequality
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/jore.12054
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 57,138
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Christian Case for Virtue Ethics.Joseph J. Kotva - 1996 - Georgetown University Press.
Saint Augustine Lecture 2004.Peter R. L. Brown - 2005 - Augustinian Studies 36 (1):5-30.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Bioethics, the Gospel, and Political Engagement.Lisa Sowle Cahill - 2015 - Christian Bioethics 21 (3):247-261.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Wealth and Poverty in the Early Church.Rebecca H. Weaver - 1987 - Interpretation 41 (4):368-381.
Is World Poverty a Moral Problem for the Wealthy?Jan Narveson - 2004 - The Journal of Ethics 8 (4):397-408.
The Significance of Poverty and Wealth in Plato’s Republic.H. P. P. [Hennie] Lötter - 2003 - South African Journal of Philosophy 22 (3):189-206.
Augustine; a Collection of Critical Essays.R. A. Markus - 1972 - Garden City, N.Y., Anchor Books.
Augustine on Sin and Moral Agency.William S. Babcock - 1988 - Journal of Religious Ethics 16 (1):28-55.


Added to PP index

Total views
38 ( #267,898 of 2,411,692 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #346,256 of 2,411,692 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes