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and has thus in a very meaningful way contributed to bringing

together contemporary Lutheran theology on both sides of the
Atlantic. His careful analysis ofthe recent American discussion
would obviously have found more readers if it was not written
in Swedish. But the book contains quite detailed summaries
both in English and German, and thus even has something to
contribute to the international discussion as it is.
Knut Alfsvag
School ofMission and Theology
Stavanger, Norway

Christian Charity in the Ancient Church. By Johann Gerhard

Wilhelm Uhlhorn. Translated from German, with a Preface by
Matthew C. Harrison. St. Louis, Missouri: LCMS World Relief
and Human Care, 2007. $14.99.
~ "Behold, I am making all things new" (Rev 21:5). It might
seem that the eschaton has been extended to book publishing
as well. Despite the publication date of 2007, this is not a new
book. Some may wonder what merits the reissuing of a book
that appeared in English translation 125 years ago. As a review
of this book from 1883 says, "It is an important contribution to
the knowledge of the social and practical Christianity of the
early Church. No other volume in the English language quite
takes its place" (The American Church Review 42 [1883], 584).
Over thirty years after its publication in English, the book remained as recommended reading for ministers (The Biblical
World 45 [1915], 99-105). No doubt many generations of church
historians have come across this work. Outside the realm of
church historians and specialists, this work has largely been
forgotten and inaccessible.
"For the world before Christ came was a world without love,"
writes Gerhard Uhlhorn. This striking statement appears on the
first page and highlights that Christian charity was vastly different than other forms of human aid in the ancient world. Regarding how Christian charity was different, Uhlhorn writes:

The fundamental distinction between the ancient liberalitas and the Christian caritas lies in this, that the latter
always keeps in view the welfare of the poor and needy; to
help them is its only object; whereas the Roman, who exercises the virtue of liberality, considers in reality himself
alone (I do not mean always in a bad sense), and exercises
his liberality as a bribe wherewith to win the favours of
the multitude. Nor does he always exercise it in the spirit
of common vanity, but in order that it may be the means
of displaying and increasing the splendour of his name, of
his position, and of his house, or, what he considered of
just as much importance, the splendours of his native city,
and of the municipal community. Christian charity is selfdenying; heathen liberalitas is at bottom self-seeking, even
although personal selfishness be limited by the interests of
the commonwealth, for the sake of which Greek and Ro-

man alike were at all times prepared to make a sacrifice.

That a sense of one's duty to the poor, such as has been
introduced by the Christian caritas, could not grow up out
of the heathen liberalitas, is sufficiently clear. (8-9)
While there were acts of "pity" in the ancient world, the motivation was not love but a demonstration of the benevolence or
freedom (liberalitas) of the individual or the state. The ancient
concept of liberalitas did not seek out those in need; rather it
sought to please the individual. Consequently, rich and poor
alike received handouts from the Roman Emperor so that they
would see his greatness. Despite the high praise of Aristotle's
Ethics by the Renaissance and Reformation humanists, including Philipp Melanchthon, Uhlhorn writes, "We seek in vain for
charity amongst the virtues enumerated by Aristotle in his Ethics" (33). What is found in Aristotle is the virtue of "generosity."
Yet according to Aristotle one only gives because generosity is
beautiful. Unlike the reasons those in the ancient world had to
show pity or to give, the Christian has a different motivation,
that of love. Christ brought the love for the neighbor into the
world. Hence before Christ the world was without love.
According to Uhlhorn, the cross "is the beginning and the
never-failing source of charity amid his followers" (56-57). The
cross of Christ, that is, justification, is the source of the Christian's love for his neighbor. The Christian loves his neighbor
and those in need because Christ loved us first. To those of us
who are accustomed to nearly 2,000 years of Western civilization, we fail to see how radical the love of Christ for his people
and his people's love for the neighbor was in the ancient world.
Uhlhorn's work helps the modern (nineteenth-century) and
contemporary (postmodern, twenty-first-century) reader see
how unusual Christian charity was in the ancient world. It also
serves to remind the church today of its role in showing mercy
to those in need.
The book was originally published in 1881 as Die christliche Liebesthatigkeit. The book was divided into three parts: Christian
Charity in the Ancient World, Christian Charity in the Middle
Ages, and Christian Charity since the Reformation. With the
consent of the author, the first part was published in English in
1883, of which this volume is a reprint. Christian Charity in the
Ancient Church is divided into three books: The Old and the
New, The Age of Conflict, and After the Victory.
Johann Gerhard Wilhelm Uhlhorn was born in 1826 in Paris
and died in 1901 in Hannover. He was a lecturer at Gottingen at
the age of twenty-three. He became the chief preacher in Hannover and found the favor of King George v. From 1878 until his
death, he was the abbot of the monastery in LOCCUln. Uhlhorn
was dedicated to Lutheranism, and greatly improved the seminary at which he taught in Loccum. Christian Charity in the
Ancient Church cost $2.90 when it was published in 1883, which
in 2006 purchasing power is equivalent to $58 (five cents to the
dollar). At $14.99, the reissued version hard-cover volume with
attractive dust jacket is truly a bargain and a great service to
pastors and the church.
Albert B. Collver
St. Louis, Missouri



\\Tittenberg and Athens
Carl P. E. Springer

..\felanchthon and the Wittenberg Reception ofHellenism, 1518-1526: Bonae Literae et Renascentes Musae
Jon Steffen Bruss

The Spadework and Foundation: Tools ofGreek New TeStament Study

Kevin L. Gingrich


Luther's Aesop
Carl P. E. Springer


The Use ofLogic in Lutheran Theology

. .\ nders Kraal


. .-\ Pure Critique ofReason: Reason within the Limits ofSound Theology Alone
James A. Kellerman


\\Tittenberg: What to Do with AriStotle?

~{ark D. Nispel


The Lutheran Mind and Its University



~fartin R.



Engaging the Doctrine of God: Contemporary Protestant Perspective.

Edited by Bruce L. McCormack. Review by Mark Mattes
Problems with the Atonement: The Origins of, and Controversy about, the Atonement Doctrine and
Options on the Atonement in Christian Thought. By Stephen Finlan. Review by David P. Scaer
Liberty: Rethinking an Imperiled Ideal. By Glenn Tinder. Review by Mark Mattes
Imaging the Journey . .. ofContemplation, Meditation, Reflection, and Adventure.
By Mark C. Mattes and Ronald R. Darge. Review by John T. Pless
Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible: The Social and Literary Context. By David Instone-Brewer. Review by Jacob Corzine
Lag och evangelium som tal om Gud - en analys av synen pa lag och evangelium hos nagra nutida lutherske teologer: Pannenberg,
lVingren og Scaer (Law and Gospel as Talk about God - an analysis of the view of Law and Gospel in some contemporary
Lutheran theologians: Pannenberg, Wingren, and Scaer). By Tomas Nygren. Review by Knut Alfsvag
Christian Charity in the Ancient Church. By Johann Gerhard Wilhelm Uhlhorn. Translated from German,
with a Preface by Matthew C. Harrison. Review by Albert B. Collver
The God Who is Triune: Revisioning the Christian Doctrine of God. By Allan Coppedge. Review by Mark C. Mattes



A Tribute: What We Have Learned from Issues, Etc. Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm"
Disappearing through Anthropomorphism Luther, Lutherans, and the Philosophers
More Verses to Two Hymns The Return from Egypt


A Call for Manuscripts
Inklings by Jim Wilson