Anna Trombone-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of History and Chair of Department of History, Lake Forest College will speak on the topic, The Problem of Wealth in Early Christianity. This talk will address Roman and early medieval Christian thinking on the relationship of wealth to the religious life and to salvation. We will begin with Jesus’s admonitions regarding wealth in the Gospels, in which he seems to assert that money is a hindrance to salvation. We will then turn to the Acts of the Apostles, which shows the earliest Christian communities demanding (under threat of harsh punishment) the renunciation of private property and the embrace of communal property. Finally, we will turn to the writings of the early Church Fathers and monastic authors, who crafted their arguments about the proper role of wealth in a Christian life while balancing their awareness of the strict teachings ofGospels and Acts with the new reality of Christianity as the dominant religion of the Roman Empire—and consequently, of many rich people. How, then, might it be possible to make wealth acceptable, or even salvific?
Dr. Trumbore-Jones earned her B.A. at the University of Chicago and received three post-graduate degrees in History at Columbia University: her M.A., then her M.Phil., and finally her Ph.D. We have watched her ascend through the ranks at Lake Forest College, starting as Assistant Professor of History in the fall of 2003 and attaining her position of Professor in the fall of 2016. Dr. Trumbore-Jones last spoke to us in 2011 on the topic Convivencia: Harmonious Interfaith Relations in Medieval Spain.
In lieu of a chalice lighting at this service, we will have a short ceremony recognizing new members who will sign the LSUS membership book.