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The History of Consumer Credit: Doctrines and Practices by Rosa-Maria Gelpi, François Julien-Labruyère (auth.)

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By Rosa-Maria Gelpi, François Julien-Labruyère (auth.)

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Against that, he who has pity on the poor gives to God, and God will compensate him. In all the Christian tradition there is no more demanding prosecutor of interest-bearing loans than Saint Basil. He had considerable intellectual influence. He is, in fact, at the foundation of more than 1000 years of a total ban on interest by the Christian Churches, and his distant echo can be heard right up to the Cantos of Ezra Pound. Saint Gregory of Nysse, his younger brother, is less concrete but more theoretical.

A. History of Economic Analysis, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1963. TAVENEAUX, R. Jansénisme et prêt à intérêt, Paris: Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, 1977. VEYNE, P. ‘The Roman Empire’ in Aries, P. A History of Private Life, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987. 2 Almsgiving versus Usury BIBLICAL BANS The Hebrews were the first people to condemn interest-bearing loans. The Old Testament forbids it in three different places: Exodus XXII: If you should lend money to one of my people, to the afflicted among you, you must not become like a usurer to him.

At the very moment when financial difficulties increased at the highest levels of the lay aristocracy, when the lords’ debts to the bourgeoisie were beginning to accumulate, when the art of governing through money was inclining princes to choose their best servants not from the nobility but from mercenaries and men who knew how to count, this ethic of warrior idleness and waste was taking an even greater hold on feudal Europe. It formed the armature of the class consciousness of a group which was beginning to feel threatened in its superiority.

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