Misjudgment and Mistrust (The Word of God Encyclopedia Book 8)

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Cochlaeus’s Position on Luther

It is not shared by reasonable Roman Catholic writers like Kiefl, who have rightly discarded the theory of Denifle and his followers Grisar, Paquier, Cristiani as untenable. It is useful to recall the tone of Denifle's polemic. He believed thereby to have found the best means with which to make himself the leader of the movement. Now he first sees what he has begun; he cannot turn back, the waves have been set free, his pride does not allow him to rescue himself from it, so he becomes completely radical" vol.

Warming up to his subject, Denifle continues: "Luther's undertaking was faustian, the black magic artist Dr. Faust is only an idealized Luther" vol. He accused the Reformer of being guilty of a "damned halt-knowledge" and of a "philosophy of the flesh," and he called Luther's doctrine a "seminar of sins and vices. His conclusion: the Reformation was based at least in part on Luther s woeful ignorance of classical Roman theology. Justification by faith then became the cover-up for his own sins. The composite picture of Luther is that of a glutton, a forger, a liar, a blasphemer, a drunk; a vicious, proud, unprincipled, syphilitic man whose communion with God ceased entirely before his death, which may have been self-inflicted.

The young Catholic Luther, torn with sin and constant remorse, was pitted against the hardened old reprobate. Grilling his subject mercilessly like a savage district attorney, Denifle denied him veracity, depicted a lecherous young man ridden by unconquerable concupiscence of the flesh, and later exhibited a bloated besotted beast given to vile ragings and obscene vituperation. Luther had been wicked very wicked indeed—why, his own words about culpa, culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Unable to find any goodness even with God's grace Luther in final desperation simply "invented" forgiveness for nothing, i. Thus he unleashed all the wicked passions of the Evangelical Reformation. There are two. The one seeks to make Luther into a man so vile that he could not be the instrument of God, an imposter whose "reforming" activities were merely a wretched camouflage to mask his moral decadence. The other tries to prove that the "pseudo-reformer" had made no rediscovery at all in the theological realm; it was that his propensity for lying or his crass ignorance only prevented him from understanding that the justitia Dei familiar to the medieval theologians was as important for them as he said justification was for him.

To defend the first of these theses, which was self-condemnatory purely because of its exaggeration, Denifle does not hesitate to accuse Luther of buffoonery, hypocrisy, pride, ignorance, forgery, slander, pornography, vice, debauchery, drunkenness, seduction, corruption, and the like. These accusations, drawn up as a list of indictments which, disguised as scientific objectivity, are dictated by the blindest anger, culminate in a paragraph headed "The Christian Character of Luther". Having stated there that Luther wanted to be a filthy swine because this animal embodied his ideal of the spiritual life, Denifle pronounces the verdict: "Luther, there is nothing divine in you!

The bias of Denifle is overtly apparent. Some coolly pointed out that a person so depraved as the Luther depicted by Denifle could not possibly have produced the literature that in fact changed the course of Christian history. It was lamented that the new documents Denifle presented would never lead to corrections of Lutheran views of Luther, since the Dominican had clothed his work in a vitriolic rhetoric repulsive to Lutherans.

Catholic scholar Joseph Lortz unmasks the link between Cochlaeus and Denifle, and clearly expresses that he purposefully has abandoned. Gradually Catholics have come to recognize the Christian, and even Catholic, richness of Luther, and they are impressed. They now realize how great the Catholic guilt was that Luther was expelled from the Church to begin the division that burdens us so today--even in theology. Finally, we are anxious to draw Luther's richness back into the Church. The English world has been spared his biased attacks against Luther.

Still, even though his work remains obscure, Catholics on the World Wide Web still find ways of utilizing his material:. We steal, lie, cheat, The people are more avaricious, less merciful In this new attempt at liquidation Denifle revives the idea that Luther was contaminated by the nominalism of William of Occam and failed to appreciate the golden age of scholasticism…Denifle's theses stirred up considerable feeling in Protestantism.

The former had nevertheless a certain usefulness, in that it made Lutheran historians finally renounce hagiography and rediscover the true Luther: a man who, besides his greatnesses had also his littlenesses and who, because he was conscious of his wretchedness, was able to be unreservedly the herald of God's grace. Among those who were stimulated by Denifle's attacks to try to give Protestantism a sound picture of the Reformer, we must mention Otto Scheel.

The biography which he set out to write, but which unfortunately remained unfinished, is a remarkable work. It devotes no less than two volumes—all that appeared-to tracing Luther's development up to , a period treated only very superficially by nineteenth-century Luther-scholars. Denifle's second thesis had the effect of reminding Protestant theologians that, to know the young Luther, it is also necessary to know the teaching of scholasticism; that, to understand his message, the necessary preliminary is to have understood the thought of the Middle Ages. In this respect, the German historian whom one can regard as the initiator in the renaissance of Luther studies, Karl Holl.

He was able to show, in particular, that Luther s interpretation of Rom. Grisar delved deeply into Luther studies. His work on Luther spanned multiple volumes and thousands of pages. He does not make it consist merely in the concupiscence of the flesh. Richard Stauffer has succinctly said,. One might think so at first sight; but I follow Walter Kohler in regarding the brutality of the Dominican as better than the smoothness of the Jesuit. Where Denifle says straight out what he thinks to be the truth, Grisar makes subtle insinuations. One example from among many will illustrate this.

It concerns the illness from which Luther suffered in In asking what was the cause of first the fever and then the insomnia, Grisar relies on a document which an historian cannot draw on in this case and so suggests that Luther could have had the malum Franciae, that is, syphilis. Grisar does not make positive statements; he is content to hint. But by this he shows clearly enough the malice of which the Roman Catholic historian Adolf Herte accused him thirty years later.

Similarly, H. Boehmer has said,. Not even with Grisar, however much the coarse bludgeoning is replaced by the elegant and refined silkiness. But one does not know whether this change of weapons really means a genuine superiority. Denifle's grossness is at least honest; one knows where one is. But Grisar will just hint, or raise a question, or suggest possibilities, without wanting to decide, so that there is always a certain ambiguity in what he says.

It is certainly not proved, but on the other hand, it is not all complete invention; there must be something in it. In this account, Luther verged on neurosis as he swung from pseudo-mystical quiet to intemperate attack and near-hysteria. As Luther dealt with his maladjustments he came to hold doctrines diverging from church teaching. Late in life Luther suffered bouts of dismal depression, but then he would swing over to jocularity, frenetic work, and violent polemics.

Add to this Luther's fascination with a mysticism of passivity, and one can grasp why Luther polemicized against good works. Luther's early successes made him proud and unreceptive to sound correction. Grisar invites the reader to pity Luther, but his own malice shows through very clearly.

Luther is a wholly impure, deeply immoral individual Denifle…and the pathological interpretations of Luther by H. He sees him as the victim of bad heredity, a maladjusted misfit entering the monastic life because of some traumatic experience during a thunderstorm when a student. Grisar argues that Luther was simply a neurotic man who spent his entire life unhappy and guilt-ridden.

Luther simply could not overcome concupiscence. Grisar argued that "Luther leaves no actual Grace which makes for righteousness and which dwells within man himself, for he sees in God a will to grace, not to view us as sinners and to lend us his active support in fighting sins. But the attempt at character study does not stop here. Luther must have been above all and here we have Grisar's real originality a neurasthenic and a psychopath.

Victim of a bad heredity, maladjusted by nature, he had suffered an incurable shock when at the age of twenty-two the thunderbolt struck close to him near Stotternheim. Thus, "beginning at the storm of July 2, ", it was possible to see in Luther as he entered the monastery "a young religious burdened with a neurosis, and throughout the following years an unhappy man whose suffering" was "a sad and pitiful cross". He repeatedly showed how problems plaguing modern Protestantism stemmed from Luther. The New Catholic Encyclopedia states,. Though intended to be more objective and moderate in tone than previous Catholic studies such as that by Heinrich Seuse Denifle in , it tends to emphasize negative qualities in Luther's personality.

Contemporary Catholic appraisals of the Reformer appear more balanced than Grisar's without totally replacing it. Nevertheless, not all Catholic scholars have been convinced. Congar have expressly stated that Grisar was wrong to argue that Luther was a spent force. Both authors were given great attention in the early twentieth century because of their scholarly reputations. Leonard Swidler states,. We should turn not our hate but our pity toward Luther the psychopath, who was subject to illusory visits by the devil and terrible fits of depression.

It is granted by Protestants that Grisar went about his work with a great deal of scholarly zeal and that his work "contains a powerful denial of the old Catholic Luther-fables and calumniations as well as the deep-rooted view, most lately upheld by Denifle, according to which Luther was driven down the path of the Reformer by lust of the flesh. Without a doubt all the terrible words of Luther, full of hate, anger, "Wildheit und Rohheit" are actually found in Luther's writing's.

But the complaint was raised that this was far from all that was in Luther's writings; this was only a one-sided picture, and therefore a distortion, though one with a certain refinement. In the end, "Grisar, just as Denifle, wishes to annihilate Luther. In this regard it is true that Luther suffered injustice from Grisar and Reiter, and more recently from the American Psychologist, Erik H. Dickens and John Tonkin note,. Heinrich Denifle and, to a lesser extent, Hartmann Grisar manifested a spirit of bitterness difficult to parallel in the history of Catholic thought; yet, paradoxically, much of the power of their attack derived from the wealth of genuine sources on which their writings were based.

This was because Grisar's achievements were invariably balanced by failures. If he boldly refuted a number of palpable fables and groundless calumnies against Luther, he revivified just as many and left standing by innuendo others, which he acknowledged in the telling as unproven. He exhibited throughout a deep hostility and partiality, which led most scholars—both Catholic and Protestant—to conclude that his differences from Denifle were, in the last analysis, marginal.

Ostensibly, Grisar gave the impression of being fair and objective, but into his supposedly neutral statements he skillfully mingled subtle insinuations about Luther's immorality, abnormality, and haughtiness. The Catholic philosopher Johannes Hessen has evaluated the methods of Denifle and Grisar as follows: "One may doubt which of the two methods of killing Luther was the most pleasant: The rude, but open, way of the Dominican There is no doubt that both methods are failures.

Peter Brunner and Bernard Holm have said:. He would employ the technique of asking, not asserting. Noting that lukewarm Protestants were already willing to let the Reformation pass into historic oblivion he took up a new weapon; introspective psychology. It was to be the age of Freud.

He treated Luther as a personal tragedy. Ah, what a fervent young man, what gifts, what potentialities! But also what scrupulosities, what false twistings of a psychotic mind, what inner torments—a thoroughly unbalanced temperament! Instead of listening to gentle correction from a kind Church, Luther rushed always into extremes, and then ended in years of agonizing doubt, blaming the devil for the tormenting question whether he had upset the world in his madness!

Where Denifle robbed Luther of his integrity and morals, Grisar questioned his mental health, and informs us dial the Catholic writer Janssen used to urge Catholics to pray for sick Luther's poor soul. I have a strong suspicion that those who utilize him are unaware of the shortcomings of his work, and are unaware that Catholic scholars have progressed past his work. If I were to continually quote a modern scholar speaking against Catholicism whose research and overt bias was apparent, my opponents would not listen.

With such a wealth of much better Catholic studies on Luther, I can only speculate that those who quote Grisar agree with his psychological approach. American Catholics in the first half of the twentieth century were guided in their understanding of Luther by the article in the Catholic Encyclopedia written by George Ganss — Now available on-line, a new generation of Catholics and non-Catholics! Ganss denies that Luther ever had a true vocation to the monastic life; and suggests that in the monastery he became the victim of inward conflicts.

He also claims that Luther was unfaithful both to the rules of his order and to the teaching of the Church, and that his infidelity brought on very deep depressions of a mental and spiritual kind. The reformer is portrayed as a revolutionary who, in the enforced leisure of his sojourn at the Wartburg, broke down under sensuality; it is alleged that in his book On Monastic Vows, Luther pleads for an unbridled license.

Patrick W. Carey also gives an insightful review:. The lengthy article quoted selectively from the Protestant sources and from a few of Luther's own texts to verify the negative assessments of Luther found in the Catholic historian Denifle. Throughout the article, the early Luther is presented as a deeply disturbed personality, one with a brooding melancholy, scrupulosity, and morbidity that was susceptible to spiritual depression.

Luther, Ganss asserted, would later attribute his own personal religious anxiety to the Church's teachings on good works. Thus the central doctrine of the Reformation was, in Ganss s view, the product of a "hypochondriac asceticism. Luther's Reformation ideas were successful, however, primarily because he pleaded with the masses in the language of the populace when he could not win his scholarly battles in the academy through the regular process of disputation.

His appeal, moreover, was to the "latent slumbering national aspirations" of the German princes and people. And by such solicitations the reformer became "the revolutionary. From Gansss perspective Luther was a tortured and unhappy soul whose own self-delusion operated as a driving force behind the Reformation. It was a moral and psychological analysis that isolated the individual from the wider historical currents of thought and culture, and that gave no insight into the theological discoveries Luther had made. It is difficult to know in the present state of scholarship how widespread Gansss view of Luther had become in early twentieth century American Catholicism.

Burdened with a bad inheritance his father, irascible by nature, was carried by fits of temper almost to the extent of murder, cf. Unfaithful to the rules of his order and to the teaching of the Church, he sank into a "depression, physical, mental and spiritual" which, by a strange aberration, he attributed to the Roman Catholic doctrine of good works p. Cornered by despair, he had to react; and this he did by breaking his ties with the Church and setting himself free for "religious agitation". But this "reforming activity" had to degenerate into "political rebellion".

By considering himself to be the herald of the aspirations of his people, Luther became "the revolutionary" p. In all this he could not find the peace he was seeking. To his ordinary disquiet must be added, during his sojourn at the Wartburg, outbursts of sensuality that found him defenseless p. Under these conditions he wrote the De votis monasticis and promulgated a new moral code in which concupiscence cannot be overcome, "sensual instincts are irrepressible" and sexual appetites to be satisfied by no matter what physiological demands p.

So vicious a man could obviously not enjoy a happy old age. Ganss therefore puts a last touch to his portrait. Having reminded us that Luther's increasing irritability and explosions of passion must be viewed pathologically rather than historically, he depicts the Reformer as abandoned by most of his friends and colleagues p. Thus he draws up a completely negative balance sheet. In it nothing can be seen of the eminently theological motives to which Luther subjected himself.

In effect, it makes it all a matter of the revolt, apostasy, fall, and unhappy end of a monk who was unfaithful to his vows. On the other hand, although Ganss is blind to the bright side of Luther's work and character, he does play down Denifle's more violent theses.

One must grant that his portrait is far the better of the two, both in manner and at heart. Dolan argues,. It was absolutely absurd, moreover, to contend that Luther was a "crass ignoramus," and it was no longer tenable to hold, as Denifle did, that Luther was an "ossified Ockhamite. On the th anniversary of the posting of the 95 Theses, a book called The Facts About Luther was published by Msgr. Patrick F. The intent of the author was to provide a reasonably priced book to English speaking audiences expounding similar sentiments put forth by Cochlaeus and the great German scholars Denifle and Grisar.

The book received favorable reviews from many pro-Catholic publications: [89]. Recognition, poignancy, acridity. Severity, harshness, hardness. Admission, avowal, concession, Acrimonious, a. Corrosive, allowance, acceptance, indorsement. Expression of thanks or gratitude. Severe, harsh, hard, acrid, sarcasAcme, is. Summit, top, apex, zenith, tic, bitter, virulent, malignant, censopinnacle, utmost height, highest point, rious, crabbed, snarling, snappish, tesculminating point, climax.

Wolfsbane, monks-hood. Familiarize, make tured. Acrimony, n. Sharpness, corrosive2. Inform, apprise, tell, notify, make ness, causticity. Severity, harshness, sourness, tartcommunicate to, signify to, give notice ness, asperity, virulence, bitterness, to, send word to, write word to. Enterprise, efficiency. Actor, no. Doer, operator, agent. Acroamatic, a. Esoteric, esoterical, 2. Player, performer, comedian, traAcroamatical, j secret, private, acro- gedian, stage-player. Actual, a. Real, veritable, true, subAcroatic, a.

Shoot, sprout, plumule. Athwart, over, from one aginary, not supposed or fancied, not side of to the other. Present, now existing, now in in action. Behave, conduct one's self, demean Actually, ad. Really, truly, absolutely, one's self, acquit one's self. Operate, have influence. Act, v. Do, perform, execute, car- Actuate, v. Induce, impel, move, ry into execution.

Personate, play, simulate, enact, upon, prevail upon, work upon. Act upon, 1. Influence, effect, have inAct, n. Deed viewed as a single exer- fluence upon.. Abide by, conform to, perment, turn. Statute, enactmefit, ordinance, Acumen, n. Acuteness, shrewdness, edict, decree, law, bill. Fact, reality, actuality, real exist- nuity, perspicacity, discernment, peneence.

Acting, n. Deed, performance, AC- Acuminate, a. Sharp, acute, TIOO. Acuminated, j pointed, cuspidate, 2. Personation, representation, sim- cuspidated. Acute, a. Keen, shrewd, discerning, know2. Deed viewed as requiring a con- ing, quick, sharp, smart, bright, sage, tisnued exertion of power , performance, sapient, sagacious, intelligent, astute, exploit, achievement, -procedure, pro- ingenious, subtle, penetrating, piercceeding, acting, turn, ACT.

Severe, violent, intense, poignant, 4. Battle, engagement, conflict,'con- exquisite, pungent. High, shrill, high-toned. Acuteness, n. Gesticulation, gesture. Acumen, shrewdness, penetration, 6. Subject, fable, plot, series of sagacity, sagaciousness, astuteness, events. Suit, process, case, prose- cernment, ingenuity, mother-wit, quick cution. Actinolite, n. Strahlstein, ray-stone. Severity, intensity, poignancy, vioActive, a. Practical, operative, liv- lence. Highness, shrillness.

Adage, n. Proverb, saying, saw, dictum, 2.

Busy, diligent, assiduous, indus- aphorism, apothegm, maxim, by-word, trious, indefatigable, unremitting, la- sententious precept. Diamond, crystallized hard at work, diligently employed, carbon. Adamantean, a. Adamantine, hard as 3. Alert, nimble, agile, supple, brisk, adamant, very hard. Made of adamant.

Adamantean, very hard, hard as ited. Enterprising, energetic, strong, Adam's-needle, sn. Yucca, bear-grass, efficient, in earnest. Spanish bayonet. Drastic as medkcise , powerful, Adapt, v. Adjust, accommodate, efficacious.

Neville Chamberlain

Action, exercise. Alertness, agility, nimbleness, Adaptability, n. Adaptation, n. Fitness, suitableness, 3. Intensity, energy, strength, force, appropriateness, aptness, adaptability, power, vigor. Join, subjoin, annex, affix, Adherent, a. Adhering, sticking, clingappend, superadd, tag, tack. Sum, sum up, cast up, add to- Adherent, a.

Follower, partisan, discigether. Increase, augment, make dependant, vassal. Adhesion, n. Adhering, sticking, Addenduml,?. Addition, appendix, clinging, tendency to adhere. Adhesive, a. Sticking, clinging, Addict, v. Accustom commonly in a tending to adhere. Sticky, tenacious, tough, viscous, apply habitutally , give, give up. Addition, n. Adieu, ad. Farewell, good-by, fare-you2. Accession, increase, augmentation, well, God bless you. Adieu, ns. Farewell, valediction, leave3. Appendage, adjunct, appendix, taking.

Adipose, a. Fat, fatty, unctuous, oily, Additional, a. Superadded, adsciti- sebaceous, greasy. Nearness, vicinity, extra, more. Adjacency, I vicinage, neighborhood, Additive, a. To be added. Addle, a. Putrid, corrupt, spoiled Adjacent, a. Adjoining, conterminous, as eggs. Barren, unfruitful, fruitless, abor- contiguous, in proximity. Addle-head, az. Adjoin, v. Be contiguous to, lie near Addle-headed, a. Foolish, stupid, dull, to, lie close to, border upon, be adjacent doltish, brainless, shallow, soft, sappy, to.

Postpone, defer, dewitted, thick-skulled, addle-pated. Addle-pated, a. Address, it. Appeal, invocation, Adjournment, n. Postponement, petition, entreaty, request, imploration, delay, putting off. Discourse, speech, oration, ha- Adjudge, v. Award jsudicially. Determline, settle, decide, decree 3. Skill, art, adroitness, readiness, by judicial authority , adjudicate. Superscription, direction. Adjudicate, v.

Judge, decide, deter5. Manner in speakiing to anzother. Courtship, suit. Address one's self to, Direct one's Adjudication, n. Sentence, decision, speech or discourse to, speak to. Advance, offer, pre- ment. Adjunct, n. Addition, appendage, ap2. Name, cite, quote, introduce.

Master, proficient, genius, addendumn, something added. Entreaty as if to one good hand, master hand, capital hand, bound by oath , solemn charge. Adjure, a. Entreat as if under oath , Adept, a. Skilled, versed, experienced, conjure, obtest, beseech, pray, supplipractised, proficient, good, at home, AU cate, beg, conjure, implore, invoke, FAIT.

Adequacy, n. Sufficiency, competence, Adjust, v. Arrange, dispose, reccompetency, enough, adequateness. Sufficient, commensurate, set to rights, put in tune, put in good proportionate, correspondent, equal, trim. Regulate, set. Adequateness, n. Settle, compose, reconcile, make Adhere, v. Stick; cling, cleave, up. Fit, adapt, suit, proportion, ac2.

Be faithful, be devoted, be at- commodate, measure, make conform, tached, stand by, be true. Adherence, n. Tenacity, fixedness. Adjustlent, n. Arrangement, ad2. Attachment, constancy, fidelity, justing, putting in order, putting in devotion, adhesion. Regulation, setting, putting right. Advise, counsel, caution, forewarn, 3. Settlement, reconciliation, pacifi- enjoin. Instruct, inform, teach, apprise, 4. Fitting, adapting, accommodation, acquaint, notify, make acquainted, making suitable or conformable.

Adjutant, ni. Assistant qf a su- Admonition, on. Hint of a fault, perior officer. Admeasurelnent, n. Advice, counsel, caution, warning, Administer, v. Dispense, give, monition. Admonishing, monigive out. Direct, manage, conduct, control, Ado, n. Trouble, difficulty, labor, superintend, preside over. Tender, offer, proffer. Bustle, stir, flurry, fuss, noise, Administer, v. Contribute, con- tumult, turmoil, pother, confusion, duce, be helpful.

Act as administrator. Adolescence, is. Youth, juvenility, Administration, n. Dispensation, minority, juniority, nonage, teens, distribution. Management, conduct, direction, life. Adolescent, a. Youthful, juvenile, 3. Executive department of a gov- young. Appropriate, take to istrate and cabinet. Management of an estate 2. Approve, espouse, support, main of an intestate. Admirable, a. Affiliate, father, treat as one's surprising, striking, astonishing. Excellent, incomparable, inimita- Adoption, ic. Approval, espousal, support, mainperfect, first-rate, worthy of admira- tenance.

Affiliation, adopting, fathering. Admiration, n. Divine, to be adored, surprise, astonishment, amazement. Liking, love, high regard, high 2. Estimable, venerable, worthy of opilion. Admire, v.

Table of contents

Worship, devotion. Homage, reverence, veneration. Adore, v. Like much, think highly of, have 2. Revere, venerate, idolize, honor, a high opinion of, prize or value highly. Idolater, great admirer. Admirer, n. Lover, gallant, suitor, Adorn, v. Adroit, a. Dexterous, expert, sikilful, Admnission, n. Admittance, intro- apt, handy, ready, quick, clever, able, duction, access, entrance, initiation, masterly. Adscititious, a. Additional, supple2. Allowance, avowal, concession, mental, supplementary, superadded.

Adulation, n. Flattery, fiummery, exAdmit, v. Receive, grant entrance cessive praise, extravagant compliment. Adulatory, a. Flattering, smooth, oily, 2. Concede, accept, grant, acknowl- full of compliments, servile in compliedge, own, confess, take for granted, ment. Adult, a. Mature, grown up, full grown, 3. Permit, allow, bear, admit of, be of age, of mature age. Adult, n. Person of mature age, grown Admit of, Admit, permit, allow, bear, up person.

Adulterate, v. Debase, corrupt, Admittance, n. Access, means of approach, liberty Adulteration, i. Debasement, corrupto approach. Adlnixture, n. Adulterous, a. Unchaste, rakish, dis2. Spice, dash, infusion, sprinkling, solute. Violation of the marriagetinge. Admonish, v. Reprove gently , Adumbrate, v. Shadow, forecensure, warn of a fault. Typify, represent, symbolize, show, 3.

Event, incident, occurrence, transdenote, stand for. Adumbration, n. Shadowing forth, 4. Hazard, venture, risk, distinct image. Type, image, shadow, symbol. Aduncous, a. Crooked, hooked, bent, Adventure, v. Dare, venture, take curved. Advance, v. Promote, aggran- Adventurous, a. Bold, daring, dize, exalt, elevate, dignify, raise to courageous, venturesome, venturous, preferment, raise to higher rank.

Forward, further, promote, im- 2. Rash, reckless, precipitate, headprove, strengthen, make better, en- long, foolhardy, full of hazard. Adversaria, a. Notes, memoranda, 3. Allege, adduce, propose, offer, remarks, note-book, journal, commonassign, propound, bring forward, lay place-book. Adversary, ia. Enemy, foe, antago4. Pay beforehand, supply before- nist, opponent, adverse party. Increase as price , enhance, aug- Satan. Adverse, a. Contrary, opposing, unAdvance, v. Proceed, progress, propitious, counteracting, conflicting, make progress, make way, get forward, HEAD, not propitious.

Hostile, inimical, antagonistic. Unprosperous, untoward, unlucky, 2. Improve, grow, thrive, make im- unfortunate, calamitous, disastrous. Adversity, s. Misfortune, calamity, Advance, a. Progress, progression, affliction, trouble, suffering, woe, dismarch, way, moving forward. Improvement, growth, advance- luck, broken fortunes, hard life, frowns ment. Payment beforehand, anticipated Advert to, 1. Observe, remark, regard, payment. Tender, offer, proposal, proposi- heed to, take notice of, pay attention tion.

Increase ofprice , enhancement. Advance-guard, ni. Advancement, n. Progress, pro- 2. Refer to, allude to. Advertence, i n. Attention, heed, re2. Promotion, preferment, elevation, Advertency, ] gard, observance, obexaltation, aggrandizement. Improvement, advance, growth. Advantage, in. Favorable opportu- Advertise, v. Announce, publish, nity, vantage-gromud, superior situa- declare, promulgate, trumpet, protion or condition, -best estate, best claim, make known, spread abroad, plight.

Superiority, ascendency, pre-emi- the public, bring to the notice of the nence, upper-hand. Benefit, avail, profit, gain, emolu- 2. Offer for sale. Announcement, weal, service, blessing. Behalf, behoof, account-, interest. Privilege, prerogative, conven- Advice, n. Benefit, profit, serve, tion, warning, caution, exhortation. Intelligence, information, notice, of advantage to.

Advantageous, a. Beneficial, profit- Advisability, is. Expediency, advisaable, helpful, useful, convenient, ser- bleness. Expedient, proper, fit, good, well, for one's advantage, for prudent, desirable, fit to be advised. Advise, v. Counsel, admonish, sugAdvent, n. Arrival, coming, ap- gest, recommend to, give counsel to, preach.

Conling of Christ. Inform, acquaint, apprise, make Adventitious, a. Accidental, inci- known to, give notice to, send word to, dental, extrinsic, extraneous, foreign, write word to. Confer, consult, deliberate, Adventure, 1s. Chance, hazard, for- take counsel, hold a conference. Advisedly, ad. Deliberately, heedfully, 2.

Hazardous enterprise, bold under- purposely, by design, with considera-. Consultation, delibera- edness, mannerism, assumed manners, tion. Adviser, s. Counsellor, instructor, Affected, a. Assumed, feigned, unguide, director, mentor, monitor. Advocacy, i. Defence, vindication, sup- 2. Assuming, pretending, pretenport, countenance.

Defend, support, vin- priggish. Affecting, a. Moving, touching, paAdvocate, ni. Counsellor, counsel, thetic, impressive. Feeling, passion, incliattorney-at-law, limb of the law. Defender, vindicator, supporter, mind, cast or frame of mind. Attribute, quality, property, ac3. Intercessor, comforter, paraclete, cident, modification, mode. Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth. Love, heart, attachment, kindness, 4. Shield, buckler. Defence, protection, safeguard. Aerial, a. Disorder, malady, disease. Aeriform, gaseous, vaporous, ethe- Affectionate, a.

Loving, fond, attached, real, airy, empyreal, light. High, lofty. Aerie, n. Nest of a bird of prey. Affiance, v. Betroth, engage. Brood of birds of prey. Affidavit, it. Testimony in writing, Aeriforlm, a. Gaseous, ethereal, vapor- signed and sworn to before a mnagistrate, ous, airy, aerial. Meteoric stone. Aeronaut, t. Balloonist, aerial naviga- Affiliate, v. Adopt, treat as one's tor.

Aeronautics, n. Aerostation, balloon- 2. Indeed, some companies that donate goods to charitable causes can reap tax deductions that equal the cost of producing those goods plus half the difference between that cost and the fair market value of those goods. The amount of the deduction for which companies are eligible will vary with their legal status. Partnerships, S corporations, and sole proprietorships will only be able to claim deductions amounting to the production cost of the donated goods.

But for C corporations, the deduction can be two times the production cost. Bertrand and others point out, however, that the donated goods will entitle businesses to a deduction only if they meet requirements laid out in the Internal Revenue Service's tax code. For instance, the donor business will qualify for a deduction only if it hands over its goods to a qualified non-profit organization. Moreover, products that are donated must be targeted at helping disadvantaged or otherwise legitimate groups, such as children, the needy, and people who are ill.

Finally, donated goods must be handed over unconditionally; the donor business is not allowed to receive compensation in any form for its largess. Despite these restrictions, analysts and companies that have established charitable giving programs agree that making such donations can have a potent positive impact for the participating business. In addition to the tax deduction and the reduced inventory-carrying costs, companies realize tremendous public relations benefits from corporate giving. Prince explains in an Entrepreneur article on the subject that to many entrepreneurs focused "on keeping costs down and milking every cash-flow dollar, corporate giving sounds like a luxury they just can't afford.

But in today's competitive environment, corporate charitable programs and partnerships may be the cheapest strategic competitive edge you can get — not to mention the satisfaction they can bring. Many businesses that choose to direct their excess inventory toward philanthropic targets have come to realize that there are a number of agencies that can help them in this task. In addition to non-profit organizations themselves, which typically try to make the donation process as easy as possible for donor companies, companies interested in handing over goods can enlist the help of organizations known as exchanges.

These organizations serve as middlemen, accepting products from companies and then distributing them to various deserving charitable groups. Business experts agree that charitable giving is an activity that, when considered by small family-owned businesses, is particularly rife with both opportunities and challenges. The chief pitfall of charitable giving by members of family businesses is lack of communication. All too often each member of a family involved in a business writes out checks to charities of his or her choosing.

One may donate to the cancer society, another to the arts, and a third to yet a different worthy non-profit. When the donations are tallied up a lack of direction and consistency in support is often the result. Analysts encourage owners of family businesses to organize their charitable giving in a cohesive way that can benefit both deserving non-profit organizations and the business itself.

There is no one organized giving plan that all family-owned businesses should adhere to. Indeed, small and mid-sized family businesses utilize a broad range of charitable strategies, many of which are tremendously effective despite their differences in emphasis, direction, and execution. But most successful giving programs share a common characteristic that is also a hallmark of success in the business arena: proper research and planning. Family businesses seeking to establish a program of charitable giving need to recognize that such policies are predicated on three major issues — choice of charities, size of donations, and the vehicle that will be used to execute donations.

Choice of Charity or Charities — Some family businesses choose to provide financial support only to causes that are personally important to family members, regardless of their influence on the business or industry in which the family is involved. Other families, meanwhile, may choose to steer their charitable giving toward areas that also impact on the family business. A publisher who supports literacy causes, for example, can publicize that connection and boost its public image. A paper manufacturer that supports environmental and deforestation causes may, likewise, create good will in the community.

Of course, many families will discover that agreeing on the primary recipients of a charitable giving program is no easy matter. Some family members may be enthusiastic supporters of a non-profit organization, only to find to their dismay that other members are lukewarm or even hostile to that organization's goals and mission.

In such instances, consultants urge individuals not to adopt an intransigent position or engage in "tit-for-tat" negotiations in which approval of a charity is withheld until family members agree to provide financial support to a cause of which they may not be enamored. There are plenty of charities out there to which everyone should be able to agree to donate. In instances where disagreements break down along generational lines, another option is to create a three- to five-year plan in which the causes favored by one generation give way over time to those favored by the next generation.

The size of charitable donations that family-owned businesses give is, of course, directly linked to the size and fortunes of the family business. A family-owned lumber business with several locations and a host of reliable corporate clients is obviously going to be able to make larger donations, if it is so inclined, than are the owners of a single sporting goods store.

But no matter what the sum total of donations is, family members should make sure that they arrive at the total together and in an informed fashion. That is, organized giving totals should be arrived at with an eye toward the business's current financial standing and its future business plans and prospects.

A company poised on the brink of a major expansion effort, for example, may adopt a more modest strategy of organized giving than would a mature business that requires less reinvestment. Another consideration that members of family-owned businesses need to weigh is their allocation of time to charities. Certain individuals may be enthusiastic supporters of a charity, giving considerable amounts of time and talent to the organization in order to advance its work. Such selflessness is laudable, but it can also give rise to resentments among fellow family members if they begin to feel they are taking on an unfair share of the company's workload as a result.

For this reason, family members should make sure that they communicate the needs of the business as well as the charity to one another through regular meetings. Of course, sometimes a business may find that extensive involvement in charitable work can also pay dividends for the company. A hands-on involvement in charitable work demonstrates a tangible commitment to the cause while also allowing for networking with others in the business community. Many a family-owned business has chosen to establish a philanthropic foundation to guide its charitable activities.

This is especially true of families that own larger businesses that can afford to make donations of considerable size. Such foundations are subject to complex rules. Nonetheless, contributions to the foundation are generally tax-deductible, whether they're made by family members or by non-family members who support the foundation's goals. Before committing to a foundation, however, small business owners should consider the various restrictions that apply foundations are required by law to distribute a minimum of five percent of their net worth to charities every year, for example and the legal and accounting fees associated with running it.

Another option that some small businesses pursue is the formation of a charitable council. Like individuals, the council can give tax-deductible donations to charities. However, councils are not recognized by or accountable to the IRS and as a result contributors do not receive a tax break on any direct contributions to the council's funds.

Prince, C. November Saxe, Douglas S. Stockman, Farah. Wilkinson Troy, Carol. Hillstrom, Northern Lights. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. July 6, Retrieved July 06, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.

Charitable foundations are endowments that are devoted to the pursuit of public purposes. Foundations are typically set up to exist, in principle, in perpetuity — spending parts of their annual income on public purposes, while retaining the remainder to preserve and grow their endowment assets.

On occasion, however, donors limit the life span of a charitable foundation, requiring the foundation to spend out all assets over a given number of years, as was the case with the Julian Rosenwald Fund — and more recently the Bradley Foundation, established in Historically, foundations were closely linked to religious charity in the Judeo-Christian tradition, but similar concepts are found in other religious traditions as well, such as the al-wakif in Islam. In the course of the twentieth century, however, much foundation activity has been linked to the concept of philanthropy.

As such, philanthropy contrasts with traditional charity, understood as the eleemosynary, ameliorative use of resources. In an influential series of articles published in the s titled Wealth , the industrialist Andrew Carnegie — began to argue in favor of an obligation on the part of the rich to devote excess wealth to public purposes and to help provide opportunities for the less fortunate to better themselves. Over the following decades, the traditional focus of charitable trusts on providing relief and amelioration was gradually supplanted by a new orientation toward analyzing and addressing the causes of social problems rather than just addressing their effects.

The earliest of these new foundations included the Russell Sage Foundation , the Carnegie Corporation , and the Rockefeller Foundation , which popularized the foundation idea and provided a blueprint that other wealthy donors began to follow in the s and s. High marginal tax rates that originated during World War II — and continued into the postwar period, in combination with lax regulation, further propelled foundation growth in the s and s. By the s, however, perceived economic misuses of foundations led to a political backlash culminating in the introduction of the new and relatively stringent regulation of foundations through the Tax Reform Act of As such, the sum of foundation grants is closely tied to endowment value, and the run-up of the stock market in the s — as well as the emergence of large-scale postindustrial philanthropists such as William Hewlett, David Packard , Bill Gates , Ted Turner , George Soros , and Warren Buffett — significantly increased the level of resources at the disposal of the foundation community at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

While the number of foundations had only doubled since the late s there were about 30, foundations in , there was a dramatic acceleration of the financial means of the foundation sector in the space of only a few years. Despite this growth, funding patterns have remained stable: Education receives about 25 percent of all foundation support, followed by health with about 20 percent and human services with 15 percent.

The other major funding areas are arts and culture and public affairs, with slightly more than 10 percent. The remainder is distributed between environmental causes, science, religion, and international affairs. Although not insignificant, foundation resources remain overall rather limited. As such, foundations are seldom the most appropriate vehicle to provide basic financing of educational ventures or scientific institutions or to serve as guarantors of sustainability over the long run. Rather, foundations have traditionally sought a different function. Faced with a scarcity of resources on the one hand, and flexibility and freedom from external constraints on the other, foundations are usually at their best when pursuing the development of new ideas and concepts.

During the twentieth century, foundations had their greatest impact in fostering innovation and pioneering novel approaches and then moving on to different areas once the innovations took root. This pioneering function of foundations is well reflected in the development of the social sciences in the twentieth century. This led to the development of the social work profession, and eventually turned the foundation into the mainstay of social science inquiry that it remains today.

Similar to the Russell Sage Foundation, but with more of an economics focus, was the Twentieth Century Fund now the Century Foundation founded in Other foundations focused on improving education, including the Julius Rosenwald Fund in the American South, but the larger foundations, particularly the Rockefeller and Carnegie philanthropies, soon devoted growing shares of their resources toward the development of the social sciences.

These foundations were instrumental in helping to establish new independent institutions that would shape social science discourse for decades, including the National Bureau of Economic Research , the Social Science Research Council , and the Brookings Institution All this work became crucial in consolidating the role of social science in the academy. After the Ford Foundation came to national prominence in , fostering the social sciences was among its main programmatic objectives.

Ford heavily supported social science development in European universities in the aftermath of World War II , and is widely credited with introducing area studies in the United States. Although federal funding has come to overshadow private foundation support for research, foundations have long shaped the development of the social sciences and remain important supporters of innovative work. Anheier, Helmut K. Dowie, Mark. American Foundations: An Investigative History. Foundation Center. New York: Author. Karl, Barry, and Stan Katz.

Foundations and Ruling Class Elites. Daedalus 1 — Lagemann, Ellen, ed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Nielsen, Waldemar. The Big Foundations. New York: Columbia University Press. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Weaver, Warren, ed. New York: Harper. The arrangement by which real or personal property given by one person is held by another to be used for the benefit of a class of persons or the general public.

The law favors charitable trusts, sometimes called public trusts, by according them certain privileges, such as an advantageous tax status. Before a court will enforce a charitable trust, however, it must examine the charity and evaluate its social benefits.

The court cannot rely on the view of the settlor, the one who establishes the trust, that the trust is charitable. In order to be valid, a charitable trust must fulfill certain requirements. The settlor must intend to create this type of trust. There must be a trustee to administer the trust, which must consist of some res or trust property. The charitable purpose must be expressly designated. A definite class of persons comprised of indefinite beneficiaries within it must actually receive the benefit. The requirements of intention, the trustee, and the res are the same in a charitable trust as they are in any other trust.

A charitable purpose is one designed to benefit, ameliorate, or uplift mankind mentally, morally, or physically. The relief of poverty, the improvement of government, and the advancement of religion, education, and health are some examples of charitable purposes. Trusts to prevent cruelty to animals, to erect a monument in honor of a famous historical figure, and to beautify a designated village are charitable purposes aimed, respectively, at fostering kindness to animals, patriotism, and community well-being.

The definition of charitable purposes is derived from an old english law, the Statute of Charitable Uses, but has been expanded throughout the years as new public needs developed. The class to be benefited in a charitable trust must be a definite segment of the public. It must be large enough so that the community in general is affected by, and interested in, the enforcement of the trust, yet it cannot encompass the entire human race. Within the class, however, the specific persons to benefit from the trust must be indefinite. A trust "for the benefit of the orphans of American veterans of the Vietnam conflict" is charitable.

The orphans of such veterans constitute a definite class. The indefinite persons within the class are the ones who are ultimately chosen by the trustee to be paid the benefits. The class is large enough so that the community is interested in the enforcement of the trust. A trust for named persons or a trust for profit cannot be a charitable trust. A trust "to construct and maintain a hospital" might be charitable, even though the hospital charges the patients who are treated, provided that any profits realized are used solely to continue the charitable services rendered and are not paid to private persons.

A trust that serves both charitable and non-charitable purposes will fail if the two are inseparable. Some of the schools in the town are public and charitable institutions and some are private and operated for profit. The valid part—to be given to public schools and charitable institutions—cannot be separated from the invalid part—the disposition to private or profit making institutions; therefore, the trust fails as a charitable trust.

If a trust has both charitable and noncharitable purposes and if the maximum amount to be used for noncharitable purposes can be determined, the trust fails only with respect to that amount pertaining to noncharitable purposes, which will be held in a resulting trust by the trustee for the settlor's statutory heir or residuary legatee. The remainder is a valid charitable trust. As a general rule, a charitable trust can be eternal, unlike a private trust, which must comply with the rule against perpetuities, a principle limiting the duration of a trust. With respect to a private trust, the designated beneficiary is the proper person to enforce the trust, but in a charitable trust, the state attorney general is the one to enforce it.

The settlor, his or her heirs or personal representatives, the members of the general public, and possible beneficiaries cannot maintain a lawsuit for the enforcement of the trust. Charitable trusts yield substantial tax benefits to donors, whether in the form of income tax deductions, tax shelters, or reduced inheritance taxes. Typically under charitable remainder trusts , immediate income tax deductions can also be matched with avoidance of capital gains taxes if the donor funds the trust using certain types of assets.

The charitable lead trust , which is often used in estate planning, commonly benefits heirs. After its duration, the principal assets return to the donor's heirs subject to reduced gift and estate tax. Parks, Charles T. A charity is a group designed to benefit society or a specific group of people. Its purpose may be educational, humanitarian, or religious. A charity goes beyond giving relief to the indigent, extending to the promotion of happiness and the support of many worthy causes.

The law favors charities because they promote goodwill and lessen the government's burdens. They are therefore ordinarily exempt from paying income or property taxes. A charitable gift is something that is donated by an individual or organization with the intent to benefit the public or some segment of it as a whole. It is meant for use by an indefinite number of people. Similarly, charitable trusts or public trusts are trusts of religious, political, or general social interests, or for the relief of poverty or the advancement of education.

Charities are ordinarily supported by gifts from donors and most states have set forth statutes controlling the manner in which funds are solicited for charities. In addition, the state will generally require charities to disclose their financial structure and condition.

Charitable gifts are often testamentary, or created by will. If there is a problem in determining the actual donative intent of the testator, the court might have to pass on his or her intent. For example, if a testator wished to donate money to a certain hospital whose name had changed, for example, this would not defeat the gift. With cy-pres the court would interpret the donor's intent to be to give money to the hospital in spite of the change of name.

To determine whether an institution is charitable, the test is whether its major purpose is to aid others or to make a profit. Charitable corporations are nonprofit corporations that have been created to minister to the physical needs of the indigent or to advance a particular goal, such as the aid of a particular religious group or country. In order to receive a tax-exempt status, such organizations must meet certain criteria. Ordinarily, charitable corporations have no capital stock and they obtain their funds primarily from private and public charity.

These funds are held in trust to serve the charitable objects of the institutions. Religious organizations , such as the Young Men's and Women's Christian Associations and the Salvation Army , are also considered to be charitable societies. The test for determining whether or not an educational institution is a charitable organization is the question of whether it exists for a public purpose or for a private gain.

While charities may charge a nominal fee for some of their services and still be considered charitable societies, they are organized primarily for the public good and not for profit. Charity Lat. An openness and generosity to others, especially in the support of those in need. In Judaism , the nearest Heb. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

In Hinduism , the nearest equivalents to charity lie in the obligations of dharma : acts of charity will lead to good karma. In Buddhism , the alleviation of dukkha suffering is equally indispensable for progress toward the ultimate goal. A work of merit, and sometimes of obligation, in most religions.

In part, it establishes reciprocity, as in the N. In terms of reciprocity, the formality of exchange issued in systems of merit, whereby especially benefits could be transferred to the dead see e. But equally, almsgiving is evoked by a religious sense of charity, where there is no calculation of consequence beyond the good of the recipient. This is prominent in Judaism and in Christianity.

Because it covers a multitude of sins.

Ezra Reads The Law

The earliest forms were carited , kariteth XI , repr. Charites: see Graces. In its purest form, the gift of alms is given gratuitously without expectation of return, and is in this sense "free. Moreover, alms are praiseworthy when given voluntarily, out of the free will and generosity of the donor; yet almsgiving is often configured as a binding religious duty. Deliberation on almsgiving raises intriguing questions about whether purely gratuitous charity is possible, or whether it is always at bottom motivated by considerations of reciprocity, spiritual reward, or simply the fulfillment of obligations.

Introduction to Sociology/Print version

Reflections on almsgiving have also stimulated considerations of the plight of the poor and how to best serve their needs. For some, gifts should be given freely and disinterestedly by the donor, yet should simultaneously inspire reciprocation by the recipient. The Roman philosopher Seneca 4 bce — 65 ce praised the graciousness of the unconditional gift, even while enjoining the recipient to respond with gratitude and, in turn, future service. This view of gift giving as a form of gracious exchange finds modern expression in studies of gift behavior inspired by Marcel Mauss 's classic The Gift Noting that in many tribal societies, social cohesion is made possible through the back-and-forth flow of gifts, Mauss saw the gift as a circuit or loop entailing three obligations: to give, to receive, and to reciprocate.

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Mauss and his followers were skeptical of the free gift because it appears to be free of social obligations; in not eliciting a return it interrupts the mutuality on which social solidarity rests, leaving asymmetry and imbalance. Others have doubted whether a gift can truly be free of any expectation whatsoever. While it may not result in direct material recompense by the recipient, every gift returns some benefit to the giver, whether that benefit arrives in the form of enhanced social prestige, a position of dominance over the recipient, or merely a sense of self-congratulation.

Amid these interpretations of the gift, we find religious ideologies proposing that not only are free gifts possible, they are highly commendable. Alms are aimed in two directions: to the poor and dispossessed and to religious professionals living in voluntary poverty, such as priests, monastics, renouncers, or the institutions that support them. Such beneficiaries are little expected to make a direct return on the gifts offered.

The resulting asymmetry is part of what make such gifts laudable: they appear to be made without calculation or anticipation of return. Yet, the absence of direct reciprocity from the recipient may not always entail that the giver be entirely free of interest. Almsgiving may bear the imprint of an older sacrificial order that in many traditions it supplanted: explicit bartering with the gods is replaced by more implicit arrangements. Almsgiving gratifies the cosmic order, which in turn grants further bounty.

A donor might legitimately engage in almsgiving as a form of merit-making, with an eye fixed on future meritorious rewards bestowed, for example, through the causality of karma in the religions originating in South Asia , or in the form of God's blessings in the Western monotheisms.

Almsgiving may thus be regarded as a spiritual investment wherein sacrifices and good deeds in this life are amply rewarded in the hereafter. Almsgiving may also be motivated by a desire for atonement; here the gift may balance the karmic "bank account" by offsetting bad deeds, or offer reparations and expiation for sins committed. At the same time, within religious traditions there occurs frequent discussion on whether such calculations are appropriate.

For some, almsgiving is a purely magnanimous act, a complete and genuine expression of compassion for the poor, esteem for the religious, contempt for worldly goods, or devotion and gratitude to God. In the Western religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — almsgiving is a declaration of devotion and gratitude to God.

It thus expresses intentions of the highest order, aimed not so much toward the earthly recipient as the divine one. The Christian Gospels make such sentiment explicit when Jesus declares that "what is done for the least of my brethren, that is done unto me" Mt. Judaism and Islam too find God present in the recipient; a Talmudic passage states that one who gives to the poor receives "the face of the Presence of God" Avery-Peck, , p. Moreover, for all these traditions, since God has given all that one possesses, almsgiving is merely furthering God's work of distributing the bountiful creation.

It purifies the donor of stinginess and gives lie to the pretension of human autonomy. Almsgiving is not a matter of self-aggrandizement, but rather of humility and purification. One of the most poignant ruptures in theologies of calculated giving occurred within Christianity through the Protestant Reformation. In The Gift in Sixteenth-Century France , Natalie Zemon Davis suggests that in a "profound sense, the religious reformations of the sixteenth century were a quarrel about gifts" p.

Reformers were offended by the Mass as a sacrifice and source of grace, priests trafficking in indulgences, and gifts edging, in their view, toward heretical reciprocity with God. For reformer John Calvin — , since God gives utterly gratuitously, grace cannot be won by pious acts. All gifts can only be free and unidirectional, flowing "downward from the Lord and outward from us" Davis, , p. Covenantal theologies depict almsgiving as a binding human obligation to God. In the Torah, God commands the Israelites to "open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in the land" Dt.

In addition to legal sanctions, severe public opprobrium may attach itself to those who resist almsgiving, enforcing charity by the mandate of social pressure. Ritual obligations also call forth gifts. Entry into ritual spaces often entails passing through the gates of charity. Institutionalized ritual practices, such as the passing of the collection plate during the weekly service, ingrain routine patterns of giving.

Where conceived as an obligation compelled by external demands, the element of voluntarism may be obscured. Only in granting the deed an element of free will can it exhibit the appropriate spirit of generosity. Paradoxically, it may be that gifts can be simultaneously obliged and voluntary. Religious discourses on almsgiving often detect nuances in intention that are explored in rankings of gifts. The twelfth-century Jewish theologian Maimonides' eight degrees of charity capture many of the subtleties of almsgiving that allow for gracious intentions within the context of carrying out duties.

At the highest level, the donor strengthens the poor Jew, putting him beyond a condition of dependence; next best is the anonymous gift where neither the donor nor the recipient knows the other; after this comes the gift where the donor knows the recipient, but the recipient does not know who the donor is; then, the gift where the recipient knows the donor, but the donor does not know the recipient; then the gift of one who gives before being asked; then the gift of one who has been asked; then the gift of less than is fitting, but given gladly; and lastly, the gift given morosely.

Here too we find sensitivities that ennoble the fulfillment of duty. The secret gift spares the recipient disgrace and arrests the donor's vanity. Yet even while hidden, this most meritorious gift does not go unseen or unrewarded by God, nor by the workings of karma. Crucial considerations in grasping the voluntary nature of almsgiving concern socioeconomic realities and the possibility that unilateral giving, especially in class-stratified societies, may be an imperative placed on the rich by the social pressure of the poor.

Acts of charity maintain the status quo by legitimizing the wealth of the haves while softening but seldom fundamentally altering the lot of the have-nots see Bowie, Jean Starobinski has suggested that both largesse and charity may always contain an element of darkness in that they expose inequalities without eradicating them. Religious ideologies celebrating charity may be merely giving a religious and moral gloss to what is in fact driven by forces of class appeasement.

Alms are received in different ways by strangers, neighbors, monks, nuns, holy men and women, the displaced, and the poor. Alms may engender affection and gratitude or they might give rise to humiliation and resentment. Some recent fieldwork studies in India have revealed considerable ambivalence for those on the receiving end of certain types of gifts that bring "poison" and dependency with them Raheja, ; Parry, In some contexts, recipients may resent the paternalism of those who seek the recipients' moral betterment through charity. Conversely, the poor may distrust the gift that traps them in dependency and degradation, given by those who accept the condition of poverty as part of the created order or as a necessary backdrop for the expression of their good deeds.

Also important is to consider the trajectory of alms that enrich institutions and transform societies. For example, almsgiving practices associated with the arrival of Buddhism in China stimulated the development of an advanced economy through the accumulation of great wealth by monastic institutions. Monastic riches were not hoarded, but were in turn transformed into productive capital that was then redistributed to the poor or deployed for the purposes of conversion and propagation, magnifying Buddhism's reach.

Through investing in what came to be called the "Inexhaustible Treasuries" — inexhaustible in that they increase wealth and in turn dispense it in every direction — the pious donor could become a bodhisattva perfecting infinite generosity see Gernet, No political, social, or economic institution in Tang dynasty China remained unaffected by these developments. Gifts in the modern world too have the potential to transform or constrain the lives of individuals as well as effect great historical change. In modern contexts of tremendous global economic disparities, almsgiving may play a crucial role in rectifying the gross injustices and exploitations of the world.


Yet the free, unilateral gift does not arrive without complications. Even when given with the noblest of intentions, alms take different courses as they reach the recipient, sometimes leading to help and self-determination, other times to a labyrinth of dependence. A central question from a modern perspective concerns how best to channel human charitable impulses not merely to offer relief, but to effectively dismantle social and economic structures that create oppression and poverty in the first place.

For Maimonides' eight degrees of charity, see Isadore Twersky, ed. See P. Finally, for a useful anthology with both secular and religious writings on charity and philanthropy, see Amy Kass, ed. The word charity derives from the Latin caritas and can be traced to the Greek charis. In the Western religious tradition, charity has become synonymous with the Greek terms agape, philanthopia, eleemosune or eleos , and even philia and eros ; with the Hebrew words zedakah, gemilut hesed , and aheb ; and with the Latin amor, amicitia, beneficia , and caritas or carus.

Thus, as a theoretical conception, charity has meant both possessive and selfless love, as well as favor, grace, mercy, kindness, righteousness, and liberality. In its practical application charity denotes the distribution of goods to the poor and the establishment and endowment of such social-welfare institutions as hospitals, homes for the aged, orphanages, and reformatory institutions.

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