Reference Materials – “Poverty, by America” by Prof. Matthew Desmond – Sep 20

Traditionally, each month’s “Reference Materials” section includes, inter alia, book reviews from –

The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
The Washington Post

Click on this “Reference Materials” section for all three.

In addition to its book review, The Washington Post interviewed Matthew Desmond re “Poverty, by America.” The transcript of that interview is also available in this section.

Warning –

The Washington Post book review’s third paragraph begins with the sentence – “The Bible tells us that the poor are always with us.”

Unfortunately, the reviewer (Timothy Noah - identified by WaPo as “a staff writer for the New Republic”) appears ignorant that in virtually every Jewish Synagogue, there is a black leather-bound book in the back of the pew in front of you labelled in gold lettering “The Bible.”

The problem???

Timothy Noah is quoting Christ from the Christian Bible.

He appears ignorant that the Jewish Bible (the Christian “Old Testament”) does NOT talk about the poor always being with us.

For any “wise acres” who want to double-check this “warning,” the University of Michigan provides an on-line searchable Bible (King James version) at

If you input “poor” as your search term, you will find 244 places that “poor” appears.

Only 144 are in the Jewish Bible (i.e., Christian “Old Testament”) AND NONE OF THEM TALK ABOUT THE POOR ALWAYS BEING WITH US.

ALL THREE THAT TALK ABOUT THE POOR ALWAYS BEING WITH US are quoting Christ in an incident reported in Matthew 26, Mark 14. and John 12 in which a woman anoints Christ with a precious ointment and is then criticized by the disciples on the grounds that the ointment could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. Christ rebukes them, saying (Matthew 26:10-12) – “Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.”
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