So where’s the Leviticus bit about lending then?

According to teaching in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, said the former Archbishop, lenders should not:

• “seek profit from another’s misery”

• allow the gap between creditor and debtor to widen uncontrollably

• take as collateral something the borrower needs for their survival, such as shelter.

Leviticus also teaches that property does not belong to anyone as it is on loan to mankind from God, he said.

Is that anywhere near stoning people for eating prawns, wearing cloth made of two fibres or buggers?

26 comments on “So where’s the Leviticus bit about lending then?

  1. The church seems to own an awful lot of property though. Might I sense the reek of hypocrisy here again?

  2. Bear with me:
    faith in the absence of facts is necessary to be a believer;
    Rowan became the head of a large established church;
    therefore his belief in the absence of facts is superior to everyone else’.

  3. Is Leviticus the chap who calls gays ‘an abomination’ and thinks that people who eat shellfish should be executed?

  4. Leviticus also teaches that property does not belong to anyone as it is on loan to mankind from God, he said.

    I look forward to the cessation of the complaints about lead being nicked from church roofs, then.

  5. Leviticus 25:37

    Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.

    Shellfish – 11:12
    Mixed fibres – 19:19 (and more specifically banning wool and linen mixes in Deuteronomy 22:11)
    Stone the poofs – 20:13

    I’m fairly sure that rating importance by locality, however, isn’t a particular part of Christian (as opposed to Moslem) exegesis.

  6. When a new incumbent takes office and is labelled an intellectual by his former peers, you can start worrying.

    Ian Blair was another such.

    Not just bastards, cerebral bastards.

  7. Leviticus 25 is a fine example of a countercyclical prices & incomes policy. It was presumably made a religious requirement because otherwise there wasn’t a hope in hell of it actually working.

    Oh, and most property was leasehold – short leases, too. 49 years is half the current standard in the UK.

    I particularly like the rules about slavery. You can’t own an Israelite, but anyone else is fair game. Wonder what the Archbishop thinks about that?

  8. I do wish the Christians would be consistent rather than cherry-pick the things they can get away with beating others up for.

  9. “…take as collateral something the borrower needs for their survival, such as shelter.”
    “Hello Mr Bank Manager; I want a loan to buy a house, but with a guarantee that if I don’t pay you back I still get to keep it. Is that a problem?”

  10. One of the unwritten covenants of civilization is: you do what you agreed to do, and I will do what I agreed to do. If I make a deal to borrow money, agreeing to pay it back, then I must pay it back. It would be uncivilized not to. Religious pronouncements that it is not immoral to not pay it back is political speech.

    “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

    ― George Orwell

  11. Why all this activity and worry about Leviticus?

    In Galatians verse 13, of chapter 2,
    “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:”
    And verses 24 and 25
    “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster”.

    You will find the same teaching in Romans 3.

    For Christians the ‘Law’ of the Jews has no place.

  12. As wrongheaded as I believe them to be on matters economic, I’m impressed the Church of England is prepared to put its preaching into practice by moving into the finance business.

    It’ll be interesting to see how they get on. Will the CofE tolerate running at a loss so long as their operations are “ethical”? Will they use the power of prayer to compel recalcitrant borrowers to cough up what they owe? Will their hands-on experience teach them that perhaps Wonga isn’t the rapacious monster it has been made out to be?

  13. @JohnM, Presumably that means we can bugger around freely. As well as eating prawn cocktails while wearing poly-cotton shirts.

  14. “Will the CofE tolerate running at a loss so long as their operations are “ethical”? Will they use the power of prayer to compel recalcitrant borrowers to cough up what they owe?”

    Always understood the rack & the red hot tongs were more the church’s preference.

  15. “Do you have a moral obligation to pay back a loan” was the subject of a hot debate in the USA after the housing collapse. People were walking away from underwater mortgages, even if they could afford the payments. Some people, such as Megan McArdle, said this was wrong, and if everyone did this the mortgage rates would increase as lenders compensated for it. Others said this was a common practice in commercial real estate, and walking away was just following the contract: don’t make the payments, the bank gets the house.
    Both points of view have merit.

  16. JuliaM – “BiG, we already did that. It was called ‘the Seventies’…”

    I knew there was a reason I always like Leviticus. Sensible policies for a sound Britain.

    dearieme – “stoning people for wearing cloth made of … buggers Good advice, if you ask me.”

    Harvard has just found three books covered in human skin. Don’t know if they were Gay or not before they made their unique contribution to Higher Learning. Who do we stone just to be sure?

    bloke in spain – “Always understood the rack & the red hot tongs were more the church’s preference.”

    If only. Catholics, yes. But it has been a long time since the CoE has been in the torture business.

    ZT – “Both points of view have merit.”

    What is the merit in the argument for walking away?

  17. For Christians the ‘Law’ of the Jews has no place.

    The historical perspective is that the Noahide laws applied .

    But note Matthew 5:

    17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

  18. SMFS – I dunno about that. Listening to a Reverend Giles Fraser sermon would probably be about as torturous as being dragged up before the Inquisition.

  19. Acts 15

    27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.

    28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

    29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

  20. Not entirely sure why I should listen to lectures about ethics and poverty from some cunt who lives in a palace.

  21. @So Much For Subtlety “What is the merit in the argument for walking away?” The borrower who walks away is carrying out the mortgage contract; the lender gets the house when the payments stop. Why should the borrower continue to pay on a house when its value is far below the amount still owed? There is no contractual obligation to do so, and as for any moral obligation, it’s not as though he borrowed the money from his mother. The bank should have priced in the risk of default, and if they didn’t, too bad for them.

  22. @ZT, mortgages seem to run differently in the USA with its “jingle mail” clauses. In Europe, you have to pay back money you borrowed. If your collateral is worth less than the amount owed, you still have to make up the difference. Interestingly that didn’t stop USian banks overlending to deadbeats on worthless properties.

    Oh, and loans can be enforced against non-collateralised property as well, including your house. All you need is an order for payment from the court and a bailiff.

  23. ZT – “There is no contractual obligation to do so, and as for any moral obligation, it’s not as though he borrowed the money from his mother. The bank should have priced in the risk of default, and if they didn’t, too bad for them.”

    Of course there is a moral obligation. Perhaps the bank should have assumed all their clients are scum. Perhaps they do. We all lose when we live in a society where basic norms cannot be reasonable expected. Because no contract can include every possibility. At some point, the type of capitalism we have in Northern Europe rests on trust, respect, and honesty.

    If people decide they don’t need those things, we will first end up like Italy and then like Brazil and finally like Nigeria.

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