Biblical Economic Ethics

Biblical Economic Ethics : Sacred Scripture's Teachings on Economic Life

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Written in non-technical language accessible to non-specialist readers, this book is a theological synthesis of the findings of scripture scholars and ethicists on what the Bible teaches about economic life. It proposes a biblical theology of economic life that addresses three questions, namely: *What do the individual books of Sacred Scripture say about proper economic conduct? *How do these teachings fit within the larger theology and ethics of the books in which they are found? *Are there recurring themes, underlying patterns, or issues running across these different sections of the Bible when read together as a single canon? The economic norms of the Old and New Testament exhibit both continuity and change. Despite their diverse social settings and theological visions, the books of the Bible nonetheless share recurring themes: care for the poor, generosity, wariness over the idolatry of wealth, the inseparability of genuine worship and upright moral conduct, and the acknowledgment of an underlying divine order in economic life. Contrary to most people's first impression that the Bible offers merely random economic teachings without rhyme or reason, there is, in fact, a specific vision undergirding these scriptural norms. Moreover, far from being burdensome impositions of do's and don'ts, this book finds that the Bible's economic norms are, in fact, an invitation to participate in God's providence. To this end, we have been granted a threefold benefaction-the gift of divine friendship, the gift of one another, and the gift of the earth. Thus, biblical economic ethics is best characterized as a chronicle of how God provides for humanity through people's mutual solicitude and hard work. The economic ordinances, aphorisms, and admonitions of the Old and New Testament turn out to be an unmerited divine invitation to participate in God's governance of the world. Our economic conduct provides us with a unique opportunity to shine forth in our creation in the image and likeness of God. Often extremely demanding, hard, and even fraught with temptations and distractions, economic life nevertheless is, at its core, an occasion for humans to grow in holiness, charity, and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 370 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 33.02mm | 725.74g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739182293
  • 9780739182291

About Albino F. Barrera

Albino Barrera is professor of theology and economics at Providence College. His books include Market Complicity and Christian Ethics (2011), Globalization and Economic Ethics: Distributive Justice in the Knowledge Economy (2007), Economic Compulsion and Christian Ethics (2005), God and the Evil of Scarcity: Moral Foundations of Economic Agency (2005), and Modern Catholic Social Documents and Political Economy (2001).show more

Review quote

Barrera offers an account of biblical teachings on the economy that is characterized by thorough and clear presentation of the ancient texts, fair and thoughtful analysis of passages within their biblical context, and sensible and reasonable discussions of how to apply this material to the contemporary world. He begins forthrightly with a well-conceived presentation of methodological issues, thereby allowing his readers to experience the range of deliberations in which he himself necessarily engaged in the process of research and writing. This prologue, if you will, gives readers an appropriate context in which to evaluate Barrera's forays into the Old Testament (including the Apocrypha) and the New Testament. Readers are also in a position to appreciate, even if they do not fully accept, the perspective from which Barrera constructs the concluding chapters of his book (part 3) under the rubric, 'Toward a Biblical Theology of Economic Life.' This book should be required reading for everyone who takes seriously the role of the Bible in the assessment of current economic policies that, for better or worse, are determinative in how people live their lives at the micro- and the macro-level. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through graduate students; general readers. CHOICE Biblical Economic Ethics, is a wide-ranging, excellent study ...Among the burgeoning literature on the Bible and economic issues, this thoughtful and highly readable contribution represents a must read work...This book has a number of strengths. It is well researched and judicious. Students and those new to the literature concerning economics and the Bible will find Barrera's summaries of biblical materials as well as his introductions to scholarly theories and debates to be well organized...Barrera's summative contributions in the third portion ... are thoughtful, stimulating, and insightful. Biblical Economic Ethics is an important work that merits a wide readership. Biblical Interpretation Biblical Economic Ethics is a model of careful and thorough scholarship...The book is brimming with insight...Readers looking for a balanced and careful synthesis of modern scholarship on biblical teachings on economics could not do better than to turn to this volume. Faith and Economics Most conventional church exposition of Scripture has tilted the text toward "spiritual matters," as though the Gospel were about "saving souls," most especially for "the after-life." Barrera offers a serious, sustained alternative to that propensity by a focus on economic issues that are at the center of the text. Barrera is well read and well-informed on this literature, and brings to his task a critical eye for the interface between the text and its various contexts; those contexts are regularly marked by precarious peasant agricultural work, most often in the midst of coercive imperial taxation. Readers will be invited by this discussion to reflect on our own contemporary interface between the good news of the Gospel and the acute economic crisis that we face. -- Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary This finely argued book will enhance the use of the Bible in Christian economic reflection. By attending to the specific economic concerns of individual biblical books, and processing their messages through a careful theological, exegetical, and hermeneutical method, Barrera identifies important economic themes that can contribute to 'the fullness of human flourishing.' He shows how 'Biblical Economics' is yet relevant to modern Christian ethics. -- Douglas E. Oakman, Pacific Lutheran University and author of Jesus and the Economic Questions of His Day Albino Barrera's comprehensive overview of biblical teachings on economic affairs provides a valuable resource for contemporary theological and ethical quests to foster more just and equitable practices within a complex and expanding global economy. Barrera directs attention to the persistent biblical emphasis on the importance of communal and social bonds for human flourishing and the urgent need to pursue practices that protect the well-being of those who are most vulnerable. These themes are examined in relation to the changing social contexts that structured the life worlds of the people of Israel and that subsequently shaped Galilean and Roman arrangements within which the Christian mission emerged. -- Thomas W. Ogletree, Yale University Divinity Schoolshow more

Table of contents

Preface Chapter 1: Methodological Issues: Using Sacred Scripture in Economic Ethics Part I. Old Testament Chapter 2: Socioeconomic Conditions: Biblical Israel Chapter 3: Covenant and Law Chapter 4: Prophets Chapter 5: Wisdom Literature Part II. New Testament Chapter 6: Socioeconomic Conditions: First-Century Palestine Chapter 7: Mark Chapter 8: Matthew Chapter 9: Luke-Acts Chapter 10: Pauline Letters and James Part III. Toward a Biblical Theology of Economic Life Chapter 11: A Divine Order of Conditional Prosperity Chapter 12: Gift of Divine Friendship: Imitatio Dei Chapter 13: Gift of One Another: Mutual Solicitude and Care for the Poor Chapter 14: Gift of the Earth: Stewardship Chapter 15: Summary and Conclusions: Economic Life as Participation in God's Providenceshow more

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