A fresh look at the understanding of charity : with special reference to the present Indian practice

  • The discussion of this paper is divided in two parts: Present understanding of Charity and a fresh look at the understanding of Charity particularly with a reference to the present Indian practice. As the major religious and theological perspectives specially from the Christian and the Islamic point of views are being dealt by other presentations in this seminar, therefore, the discussion here is limited only first, to the dictionary based linguistic meaning of Charity as understood in three main English speaking contexts and then (second), the Charity as practised in the Indian context. The new and revised deluxe edition of the Webster’s Encyclopaedic Unbridged Dictionary of the English Language has given the following meanings of Charity: 1)charitable actions, as almsgiving or performing other benevolent actions of any sort for the needy with no expectation of material reward: to devote ones life to charity, 2)something given to a person or persons in need; aims: she asked for work not charity, 3) a charitable act or work 4) a charitable fund, foundation, or institution: He left his estate to one of his charities, 5) benevolent feeling, esp. towards those in need or in disfavour: she looked so poor that we fed her out of charity, and 6) Christian love; agape 1 Cor. 13. The Chamber English Dictionary, the meanings of Charity gives as: universal love (N.T.): the disposition to think favourably of others, and do them good almsgiving: a usu. non profit-making foundation, institution, or cause, devoted to caring for those in need of help etc. According to Concise Oxford Dictionary Charity means: an organisation set up to provide help and raise money for those in need, the voluntary giving of money those in need, tolerance in judging others and love of humankind, typically in Christian context. These three set of meanings of Charity, represent the three English regions or contexts: American (Webster), Scottish (Chamber) and English (Oxford). The common important element in all for these three is, the Christian understanding of Charity, because all the three directly have referred to the Biblical usages of Charity in some forms. Here for the discussion of this paper, one can also add that even these usages are limited to the contextual understanding of the English world. Because language is also considered as an vehicle of a culture. But it is true that even the English speaking persons from the non-English world particularly of the Southern countries, (where English rulers have ruled in the past), understand the meaning of Charity more or less in the above sense only. ...

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Author:James Massey
Parent Title (German):Journal of religious culture = Journal für Religionskultur
Series (Serial Number):Journal of religious culture = Journal für Religionskultur (75)
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Document Type:Part of Periodical
Year of Completion:2005
Year of first Publication:2005
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2007/10/25
Institutes:Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Institut für Wissenschaftliche Irenik
Dewey Decimal Classification:2 Religion / 20 Religion / 200 Religion
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht