Re-Evaluating Patronage and Reciprocity in Antiquity and New Testament Studies

Erlend Donald MacGillivray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concepts of ‘patronage’ and ‘reciprocity’ have increasingly been appealed to as being key social components in the world of the New Testament. Yet this article argues that the current confidence placed in the model’s definitions and in their capability to unlock classical reciprocal relationships is misplaced. Chiefly, it is argued that the current definition of ‘patronage’ is too broad, and that it obscures the complexities of ancient reciprocity. Greek euergetism should be considered as a distinct reciprocal phenomenon, and, significantly, Second Temple Jewish society largely abstained from, or was ignorant of the mechanics of, classical patronage and euergetism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-81
Number of pages45
JournalJournal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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