Thursday, February 09, 2006

Biblical Ban on Interest

Psalm 15:5 praises the man “who does not put out his money at usury [interest]…” Moreover, the passage places the charging of interest in the same category as taking a bribe against the innocent. This is just one of many passages in the Old Testament condemning the charging of interest. From the point of view of our own era, where so much of the economy is based on the interest rate, these prohibitions may seem absurd. It may come as a surprise for many to learn that the Biblical ban on interest was upheld for most of church history.

What would be the practical economic affect if the Old Testament ban on interest was applied in our culture? Paul Mills addresses this very question in his essay, “The ban on interest: dead letter or radical solution?” That was one of the most fascinating essays I read last year and I would highly recommend it.

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