By Roger S Nam
With the starting to be proliferation of literature about the social international of the Hebrew Bible, students proceed to stand the problem of a formal realizing of historic Israel’s economies. Portrayals of monetary trade within the publication of Kings is the 1st monographic research to exploit an anthropological method of research the character of the commercial existence in the back of the biblical textual content. via Karl Polanyi’s paradigm of alternate as a methodological keep an eye on, this e-book synthesizes Semitic philology with comparable fields of Levantine archaeology and sleek ethnography. With this interdisciplinary body, Nam articulates a social research of monetary alternate, and stimulates new understandings of the biblical international.
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Additional resources for Portrayals of Economic Exchange in the Book of Kings
A careful reading of his work as well as his complementary articles reveals some major issues. His analysis belies his professional background as a monetary economist and not a biblical scholar. Consequently, he treats the ancient Israel economy like a modern system, which leads to two immediate difficulties. First, Silver has little sensitivity to the specific cultural values that regulated such exchange structures particularly as they might contrast to modern Western markets. Second, Silver does not acknowledge the paucity of data for antiquity compared to today.
14 Although classical economic models have significantly developed since Adam Smith, they essentially maintain the same Hobbesian assumptions, that is, people make rational economic decisions based on profit models. Even with the revisions of Neo-Classicism and Keynesian economics, the core of homo economicus remained intact: (1) people act selfishly; (2) people inherently exchange for maximizing; (3) universal scarcities 12 William Stanley Jevons, The Theory of Political Economy (New York: MacMillan and Co, 1871), Carl Menger, Principles of Economics (Auburn: Ludwig von Mises, 1871, 1976).
This remains true for the books with maximalist approaches to biblical historiography as well as the more moderate and skeptical views. 50 These methodological assumptions must be made more explicit, especially in wake of the recent challenges to Israelite historiography and the sophistication now required to cover this period. At the very least, closer attention to the intricacies of the economic framework can nuance such viewpoints. More likely, a critical examination of economic structures would undercut many of the social scientific presuppositions of these works.