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Alms

Bibliography: C. H. Dodd, The Bible and the Greeks, 1936, pp. 59-62; M. Weber, Ancient Judaism, ET 1952, pp. 255-67; R. Bultmann, TDNT, 1964, 2:485-87.——CEC Almsgiving constituted standard OT righteousness (Deut. 15:7-11; Prov. 25:21f.; 28:27; Isa. 58:7-11), emphasized dominical precept (Matt. 5:42; Luke 12:33), and was a familiar apostolic virtue (2 Cor. 9:5-7; Heb. 13:16). The Hebrew term for “righteousness” had acquired by Mishnaic times (c.a.d. 200) the secondary meaning “almsgiving.” The Talmud constantly advocates charity: impoverished, even aid-receiving, persons thus acquire virtue. Didache XV, 4, the earliest postcanonical Christian document emphasizing almsgiving, claims dominical authority. Generosity is never the root of justification, but merely the fruit of redeemed life (Rom. 5:1; cf. James 2:14-17). Good pagans practiced almsgiving, as is demonstrated by Egyptian tomb inscriptions about 2400 b.c., and by Confucianism and Buddhism nearly 2,000 years later. The good