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Unpublished Paper
The Development of Charity: Anti-Poverty Measures of Ancient Jewish Law & Jurisprudence
ExpressO (2011)
  • William H Byrnes, IV, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

This article describes the ancient Jewish practices, codified in Biblical law and later legal commentary, to protect the needy. The Jews’ anti-poverty measures - including regulation of agriculture, loans, working conditions, and customs for sharing at feasts - were a significant development in the jurisprudence of charity. The first half begins with a brief history of ancient Jewish civilization, providing context for the development of charity by exploring the living conditions of the poor. The second half concludes with a description of the Jewish laws, Mishnah and Talmudic commentary, as well as the practice and codification of Rabbinical teaching that establish a jurisprudence of charity. The conclusion posits that this ancient jurisprudence is the root of the American modern philanthropic idea, identifying modern equivalent practices to those of the Hebrews.

  • charity,
  • Jewish law,
  • exempt organizations,
  • gifts,
  • social welfare,
  • legal history
Publication Date
October 12, 2011
Citation Information
William H Byrnes. "The Development of Charity: Anti-Poverty Measures of Ancient Jewish Law & Jurisprudence" ExpressO (2011)
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