Paul’s Gift Economy: Wages, Debt, and Debt Cancellation
My focus is on the Biblical prophetic warning about, and solution to, severe debt injustice – whether individual or collective. I seek to demonstrate the New Testament’s continuity with the Jubilee theme of economic justice and debt cancellation laid out in the Hebrew Scriptures. In particular, I argue that Paul of Tarsus well understood the economic difficulties faced by wage laborers in the first-century Roman Empire and the all-too-real possibility of debt bondage, and – through his collection “for the poor among the consecrated at Jerusalem” – devised a creative means to reclaim the Biblical tradition of debt cancellation. In short, Paul envisioned what we could call a “gift economy” based not only on mutuality but also, and especially, on addressing the needs of the weak, vulnerable, and poor.
SubjectsPaul of Tarsus, Marx and the Bible, Debt, Debt Cancellation, Jubilee, Gift Economy
- Journal Articles