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Will 'The Poor Be With You Always?': Towards a Methodological Approach of Reading the Bible with the Poor

Theoharis, Elizabeth

Located at the intersection of poverty and the New Testament, "Will ‘The Poor Be With You Always’?: Towards a Methodological Approach of Reading the Bible with the Poor" examines how the Bible has been used to justify and condemn poverty and how poor people are coming up against and simultaneously using the Bible in their quest to end poverty. By gathering and analyzing the perspectives of Poverty Initiative Poverty Scholars—grassroots anti-poverty organizers and leaders—who are working to build a social movement to end poverty, led by the poor, this work offers these interpretations as revealing, legitimate and important for scholars, religious leaders, and others in our communities to hear. Through an evaluation of biblical and theological obstacles to end poverty, and a reinterpretation of the passage “the poor are with you always” and the larger context of Matt 26 from which it comes, it describes and further develops a biblical hermeneutic that we have termed, “Reading the Bible with the Poor.” This hermeneutic includes drawing parallels between New Testament stories and contemporary stories of poor people surviving and organizing and investigating important social issues, both historical and contemporary (including taxation, debt, infrastructure and development, charity and patronage, poverty, wealth, and political power). Finally, this dissertation establishes that the messiah Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew is a leader of a social movement of the poor who works to reign in God’s Kingdom and establish an end to slavery, debts, and poverty on earth.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Union Theological Seminary
Thesis Advisors
Kahl, Brigitte W.
Degree
Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary
Published Here
June 13, 2014
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