I just presented the Larry Axel Memorial Lecture at Purdue University. The talk was entitled, “Big Givers: The Origins of Jewish Philanthropy.” The publicity paragraph reads:
Whether by naming buildings, erecting plaques, or publishing name-lists, our practice of recognizing donors is so common that we hardly notice it. This lecture will examine the origins of the practice in antiquity, paying particular attention to Jews in late antiquity. When and why did Jewish philanthropy, and the public recognition of big donors, emerge? We will consider both material and literary evidence.