This article presents an analysis of certain ways of thinking about law and its relationship to the poor, in particular the rights and entitlements of the poor to the basic necessities of life and the obligations of society to provide those necessities. It focuses on the works of Peter the Chanter and his “circle” at Paris in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Significant in their writings on the quandary between respect for private property and the need to allow those in need to take a share of this private property in order to survive is their negotiation of the intellectual boundaries and understandings between law, theology, and morality. In addition, an understanding of their discussions in light of canonistic and theological works of the time reveal a hitherto under-appreciated contribution to the “subjective rights” language in Peter the Chanter.