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Sin and Society in Fourteenth-Century EnglandA Study of the Memoriale Presbiterorum$
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Michael Haren

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208518

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208518.001.0001

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Society Under Scrutiny VI: Economic Activity: The Examination of Merchants; Usury, Trading, and the Duties of Almsgiving

Society Under Scrutiny VI: Economic Activity: The Examination of Merchants; Usury, Trading, and the Duties of Almsgiving

Chapter:
(p.163) 10 Society Under Scrutiny VI: Economic Activity: The Examination of Merchants; Usury, Trading, and the Duties of Almsgiving
Source:
Sin and Society in Fourteenth-Century England
Author(s):

Michael Haren

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208518.003.0010

The Memoriale Presbiterorum shows a pronounced interest in several aspects of economic activity. The attempt by the medieval canon lawyers to impose controls on the use of wealth, and specifically to define the methods by which trade might be conducted, is an important example of the interest of the church in areas that in modern times are regarded as the responsibility of the state. In many cases of usury, the proof of the crime rested on the intention of the lender, where such dealings could be examined by a confessor. The practice of buying goods and storing them until the price rises was prohibited even to laymen. The subject of almsgiving arises in the Memoriale Presbiterorum under the topic of restitution. The principal consideration is that in the matter of almsgiving the claims of justice are prior to the claims of charity.

Keywords:   economic activity, merchants, usury, trading, almsgiving, Memoriale Presbiterorum, restitution

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