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Theology and Economic EthicsMartin Luther and Arthur Rich in Dialogue$
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Sean Doherty

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198703334

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198703334.001.0001

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Luther’s Moral Theological Method in His Sermon von dem Wucher

Luther’s Moral Theological Method in His Sermon von dem Wucher

(p.7) 1 Luther’s Moral Theological Method in His Sermon von dem Wucher
Theology and Economic Ethics

Sean Doherty

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces Luther’s sermon on usury, and situates it in the context of his day. It then gives a commentary on Luther’s method in the sermon, discussing inter alia such matters as its genre, Luther’s moral understanding of ‘the gospel’ and its relation to financial and commercial matters, and the way in which Luther reads and deploys Scripture in social ethics. Also analysed are the ways in which Luther exploits particular doctrines (such as creation and justification by faith alone) with respect to a moral question, and his core theopolitical concept of the twofold government of God. This chapter analyses the way in which Luther brings these theological motifs to bear on a pressing economic question which confronted him: the rise of the Zinskauf, a method of lending money at interest which circumvented canonical prohibitions on usury.

Keywords:   Martin Luther, theological method, social ethics, creation, justification by faith, two kingdoms, Zinskauf, interest, usury

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