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The Wisdom of Generosity
A Reader in American Philanthropy

By William L. Jackson

The Wisdom of Generosity
Paperback, 480 pages $49.95
Published: 1st November 2008
ISBN: 9781602580596
Format: 10in x 7in

Subjects: All Religious Studies, Philanthropy

William Jackson bestows a rich collection that presents the depth of American generosity. Drawing upon an abundant variety of genres-myths, proverbs, poems, letters, short stories, news stories, folktales, sermons, and essays-this interesting and useful collection documents the religious dimensions of American philanthropy. The Wisdom of Generosity not only chronicles the manifestations of philanthropy, but also reveals philanthropy's integral connection with American history and how Americans are still striving to fulfill their original promises. This Reader offers classic yet fresh resources for reflecting on the heritage of American giving.

List of Permissions

List of Illustrations


Part I

Our Roots in the Wisdom of Nature and Christian Charity 1600 •1700


Belle Deacon The People’s Stories


Northwest Native American (1) After the Storm; A Miser Becomes Generous

Northwest Native American (2) Collapse of a Bridge

Northwest Native American (3) Coyote Frees the Salmon from Klamath River

Alaskan Man Saved by Salmon Fin

Hawaiian The Breadfruit Tree; The Breadfruit Offering

Cherokee How Red Strawberries Brought Peace in the Woods


Benjamin Tompson New England’s Crisis

Colonial and Puritan Stories

Anthony Benezet

Africans Captured in Slave Trade Described as Civil and Charitable

Captain John Smith A Drunken Ship with Gilded Dirt

Alexander Whitaker Good News from Virginia

Leaders of Virginia A Benevolent Plan for Orphan Apprentices

John Winthrop A Model of Christian Charity

On Roger Williams History of American Literature by Moses Coit Tyler

Peter Stuyvesant (and others) Correspondence Regarding the First Jews in New Amsterdam, and Their Need to Provide for Themselves

Ezechiel Carre The Charitable Samaritan

Anne Bradstreet Meditations Divine and Moral

Eusebio Francisco Kino “Bloodless Martyrdom” for the Padre

On Father Eusebio Kino and the Southwest United States The Great Southwest by Elna Bakker and Richard G. Lillary

William Penn No Cross, No Crown; Fruits of Solitude

Ancient Writings that Influenced the Colonists

Aesop Four Fables on Greed and Good Deeds

Seneca Of Benefits; Of Intentions and Effects; Of Judgment in the Bestowal of Benefits; Of Requital; Of How the Receiver Should Act; Of Ingratitude

Passages on Giving from the Bible Old Testament; New Testament

John Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion

A Contemporary Essay

On The New England Mind The New England Mind by Perry Miller


I Expect to Pass Through

Part II

Philanthropy and Liberty in the Enlightenment Era

1700 •1800


Anonymous Philanthropy


Winnebago Tribe Wak’djunk’aga’s Appetite Incites Greed and Causes Him Grief

Jackson presents generosity as the uniting power of American society’s success.

Claire Gaudiani, Professor, New York University, George Heyman Center on Philanthropy

A graceful collection of human expression, The Wisdom of Generosity powerfully demonstrates the formative role generosity has played in America’s past.  With editorial finesse, Jackson ties together an array of cultural and historical perspectives with one common thread: the power of giving.

—Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico

William J. Jackson (Ph.D. Harvard University) is Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis and Lake Scholar at the Lake Family Institute on Faith and Giving.  He is the author of more than eleven books, including Worldviews Kaleidoscope (2007), Vijayanagara Visions: Religious Experience and Cultural Creativity in a South Indian Empire (2007), and Heaven’s Fractal Net: Retrieving Lost Visions in the Humanities (2004).

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 480 pages
 10in x 7in

  HIS036000, HIS054000, REL063000
 Baylor University Press

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