Usury is a concept often associated more with religiously based financial ethics, whether Christian or Islamic, than with the secular world of contemporary finance. The problem is compounded by a tendency to interpret riba, prohibited within Islam, as both usury and interest, without adequately distinguishing these concepts. This paper argues that in Christian tradition usury has always evoked the notion of money demanded in excess of what is owed on a loan, disrupting a relationship of equality between people, whereas interest (...) was seen as referring to just compensation to the lender. Although it is often claimed that hostility towards ‘usury’ has been in retreat in the West since the protestant Reformation, we would argue that the crucial break came not with Calvin, but with Jeremy Bentham, whose critique of the arguments of Adam Smith, upholding the reasonableness of the laws against usury, led to the abolition of the usury laws in England in 1854. There has to be a role for law, whether Islamic or secular, in regulating financial relationships. We argue that by retrieving the necessary distinction between demanding usury as illegitimate predatory lending and interest as legitimate compensation, we can discover common ground behind the driving principles of financial ethics within both Islamic and Christian tradition that may still be of relevance today. By re-examining past ethical discussions of the distinction between usury and just compensation, we argue that the world’s religious traditions can make significant contributions to contemporary debate. (shrink)
Christine de Pizan, one of the earliest known women authors, wrote the Livre de paix (Book of Peace) between 1412 and 1414, a period of severe corruption and civil unrest in her native France. The book offered Pizan a platform from which to expound her views on contemporary politics and to put forth a strict moral code to which she believed all governments should aspire. The text's intended recipient was the dauphin, Louis of Guyenne; Christine felt that Louis had the (...) political and social influence to fill a void left by years of incompetent leadership. Drawing in equal parts from the Bible and from classical ethical theory, the Livre de paix was revolutionary in its timing, viewpoint, and content. This volume, edited by Karen Green, Constant J. Mews, and Janice Pinder, boasts the first full English translation of Pizan's work along with the original French text. The editors also place the Livre de paix in historical context, provide a brief biography of Pizan, and offer insight into the translation process. (shrink)
Continuation to a study published in AHDLMA 58. It analyses the dispute between St Anselm and Roscelin, rejecting the idea of a simple division between realists and nominalists. Roscelin's trinitarian theology is interpreted as an extension of a rationalising mode of argument established by St Anselm. With a critical edition of an anonymous essay on the Trinity, argued to be by Roscelin.
This paper examines the thinking of Bernard of Clairvaux about love in relationship to the ideas of his two famous contemporaries, Peter Abelard and Héloise. It looks at Bernard's intellectual debt to William of Champeaux on issues of sin and grace, and to William of Saint-Thierry for ideas about how amor evolves into caritas. Bernard makes a stronger link between amor and dilectio, and introduces use of the Song of Songs, to explain how worldly love can develop into spiritual love. (...) The author also considers the evolution of the ideas about love of Peter Abelard, observing that he draws on the same definition of Cicero in the Sic et Non and Theologia as underpins a rather crude attempt to define love in the Epistolae duorum amantium, which the author of the article thinks to be a record of the early letters of Abelard and Héloise. Whereas Abelard always contrasts worldly and spiritual love, the effort of Heloise to connect amor and dilectio parallels that of Bernard. /// O presente artigo debruça-se sobre o pensamento de S. Bernardo de Claraval acerca do amor em relação com as ideias desenvolvidas pelos seus dois famosos contemporâneos, Pedro Abelardo e Heloísa. Além disso, o artigo toma também em consideração a dívida intelectual de S. Bernardo em relação a Guilherme de Champeaux a propósito de temas como o pecado e a graça, bem como a Guilherme de Saint-Thierry relativamente a ideias acerca de como amor se transforma em caritas. Bernardo estabelece um vínculo forte entre amor e dilectio, e introduz o uso do Cântico dos Cânticos para explicar de que modo o amor mundano se pode transformar em amor espiritual. O artigo toma também em considerçãdo a evolução das ideias acerca do amor de Pedro Abelardo, referindo o facto de que ele se inspira na definição do Cicero no Sic et Non e Theologia, sublinhando a sua tentativa de definição do amor nas Epistolae duorum amantium, as quais são aqui consideradas como um arquivo das primeiras cartas entre Abelardo e Heloísa. Finalmente, o artigo chama também a atenção para o facto de que Abelardo tende a contrasrar o amor mundano e o amor espiritual, ao passo que o esforço de Heloísa em conectar amor e dilectio paralela o próprio esforço de S. Bernardo. (shrink)
The essays in this collection focus on Christine as a political writer and provide an important resource for those wishing to understand her political thought. They locate her political writing in the late medieval tradition, discussing her indebtedness to Aristotle, Aquinas and Augustine as well as her transformations of their thought. They also illuminate Christines political epistemology her understanding of political wisdom as a part of theology, the knowledge of God. New light is thrown on the circumstances which prompted Christine (...) to write on political issues and on her attitude to Isabeau of Bavaria. These essays show that Christines originality consisted in her capacity to modify and feminise the tradition of Christian Aristotelianism through the use of elements of Christian imagery, in particular Mariology, in order to construct an image of the virtuous and prudent monarch which had lost the explicitly manly and warlike character of the Aristotelian phronimos. (shrink)
This article reviews the recent edition by David Luscombe, accompanied by an English translation of The Letter Collection of Abelard and Heloise. In particular it considers Luscombe’s claim that the exchange begins with quarrelling about love, but concludes with shared reflection on religious life. It examines the unity of the letter collection as preserved in manuscripts, with particular attention to the way it is often reproduced, as in this volume, without the final text, the Institutiones nostre, which sets out the (...) actual observances of the Paraclete in the time of Heloise, adapted from early Cistercian observances. This is despite the fact that it follows Abelard’s Rule in the fullest surviving manuscript of the exchange, Troyes, Mediatheque MS 802. The article also re-examines issues of philosophical vocabulary raised by the Epistolae duorum amantium, preserved in the library of Clairvaux, responding to Luscombe’s summary of debate about whether these might be the letters that both Abe lard and Heloise say they exchanged at the time of their affair. (shrink)