Early Christian Studies Series Vol 21: Between Ideals and Reality: Charity and the Letters of Barsanuphius and John of Gaza, Hyung Choi


This book examines the compiled letters of Barsanuphius and John, each a respected holy man, analyzing both their view of charity (giving gifts, welcoming strangers, and caring for the sick) and investigating the relationship between social inferiors, wealth and benefactors. Against the geographical, socioeconomic, intellectual and religious background of the city of Gaza during Late Antiquity, it investigates the spiritual guidance provided by the Gazan holy men in relation to giving gifts to the poor, entertaining strangers, and caring for sick laymen and monks. While Barsanuphius and John sug­gest an ideal guideline regarding charity, they also offer realistic advice to their lay and monastic dis­ciples on the basis of their personal circumstances. They consider not only the beneficiaries, but also the benefactors, offering spiritual direction with a view to their spiritual and ascetic wellbeing. This style of spiritual direction is related to their selfunderstanding as spiritual fathers, meditators and intercessors, as well as defenders of the faith and their disciples.


Between Ideals and Reality: Charity and the Letters of Barsanuphius and John of Gaza
(Early Christian Studies, Vol 21)
By Hyung Guen Choi
©2020, 237 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1-925730-17-3 (paperback)


  • Introduction
  • The City of Gaza in Late Antiquity
  • Gazan Monasticism and the Letters
  • Giving Gifts in the Letters
  • Entertaining the Stranger in the Letters
  • Caring for the sick in the Letters
  • Concluding Remarks

About the Author

Dr Choi is the first Korean author in the series. After earning a BA in philosophy from Changwon University, and a Th.M from Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary (PUTS) in Church History, Dr Choi became a student of Macquarie University (Sydney) where he earned both an M.A and a Ph.D in Ancient History. Both of this theses gave special attention to the monastic movement in late antique Palestine. This book is a publication of his PhD thesis.


Additional information

Weight 0.335 kg
Dimensions 21.5 × 14 × 1.5 cm
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