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Homelessness

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The Roman Forum in Rome at sunset
The Roman Forum in Rome at sunset

Debating Sinfulness and Homelessness in the Declining Roman Empire

Two of the most influential theologians in world history and the history of homelessness were born in (or maybe around) 354 A.D. I could announce it like a heavyweight championship boxing match: “From the north of the Roman empire, from an out-of-the-way island called Britain, stalks the preacher of perfection, Pelagius. From the south of the British empire, the province of Numidia in Africa, comes the master of disaster, Augustine.” Read More ›
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The golden apse of the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the walls in Rome, Italy.
The golden apse of the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the walls in Rome, Italy.

Homelessness and Early Christianity

In my notes from the 1990s are two well-intentioned church bulletin announcements: “Thursday night: Dinner for the homeless.  Medication to follow,” and “Don't let homelessness kill you...let the church help.” Read More ›
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Rome, Italy: The Roman Forum. Old Town of the city
Rome, Italy: The Roman Forum. Old Town of the city

Homelessness in Ancient Rome

Homelessness is nothing new. Two thousand years ago Roman historian Livy described a tugurium, a made-of-scraps lean-to like the ones I’ve seen homeless people construct on trash heaps in Guatemala City and Phnom Penh. British historian Peter Brunt’s summary is blunt: “Most of the inhabitants of Rome lived in appalling slums.’” Read More ›