Reciprocity was basic to most forms of social interaction in the ancient Mediterranean world. Any exchange of services/gifts was based on the principle that the obligations incurred between two parties required an adequate response. In his ethical treatise on benefit exchange, "De beneficiis, " Seneca presents an idealistic reinterpretation of the basic tenets of benefaction by providing a "lex vitae!", a law of conduct, according to which the giving of benefits becomes an intrinsically rewarding experience in itself. On his part, the apostle Paul conceptualises his "ecumenical" collection for the Jerusalem church in terms of the principles inherent to benefit exchange in the Graeco-Roman world. He involves his communities as beneficiaries in the reciprocal relationship between himself and Jerusalem. In Romans 15:25-31, when the acceptance of the collection hangs in the balance, Paul reinterprets the reciprocal relationship with Jerusalem in terms of altruistic Christian principles. From this new angle of incidence his churches are presented as having successfully completed the collection since they unselfishly fulfilled their moral duties towards the latter.
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