Anti-Judaism and Care for the Poor in Aphrahat’s Demonstration 20

TitleAnti-Judaism and Care for the Poor in Aphrahat’s Demonstration 20
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsBecker, AH
JournalJournal of Early Christian Studies

While various scholars have written on the subject of Aphrahat and the Jews, no one has introduced Demonstration 20, On the Care of the Poor, into the discussion. In this work Aphrahat exhorts his community to care for the poor, while he simultaneously attacks Judaism, which he construes as the spiritual equivalent of the rich man's greed. However, Aphrahat at times conflates the two sides of this analogy, thus rejecting the very possibility that Jews could engage in charity. I would like to set the argument of Demonstration 20 within the context of the Sassanian persecution of Christians, when those Christians who did not understand Christianity as a distinct faith from Judaism may have been flocking to the synagogue to receive charity and perhaps, to Aphrahat's chagrin, something more.

Citation Key3877