Gary A. Anderson, a current Joint Straus/Tikvah Fellow at the Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law & Justice and the Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization, presented the ninth annual Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Lecture, "I Give, Therefore I Am—Charity in Jewish and Christian Thought,” on April 11. Anderson, the Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Notre Dame, is an expert on the Old Testament and the history of the Hebrew Bible’s interpretation.
“It would be difficult to overemphasize the importance of charitable deeds in the Jewish tradition,” said Anderson at the beginning of his talk, explaining how, during the Rabbinic Period, the meaning of the Hebrew word mitzvah, or divine commandment, acquired an extended meaning that encompassed alms-giving. Charity has continued to thrive in both the Jewish and Christian traditions, Anderson said. In his lecture, he looked to the early textual evidence from those religions to try to find the basis of that phenomenon.
Watch the full video of the lecture (1 hr, 11 min):