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Law Legal History

The Idea of a Moral Economy

Gerard of Siena on Usury, Restitution, and Prescription

by (author) Lawrin Armstrong

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2016
Legal History, General, Theory, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
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  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
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The Idea of a Moral Economy is the first modern edition and English translation of three questions disputed at the University of Paris in 1330 by the theologian Gerard of Siena. The questions represent the most influential late medieval formulation of the natural law argument against usury and the illicit acquisition of property. Together they offer a particularly clear example of scholastic ideas about the nature and purpose of economic activity and the medieval concept of a moral economy.

In his introduction, editor Lawrin Armstrong discusses Gerard’s arguments and considers their significance both within the context of scholastic philosophy and law and as a critique of contemporary mainstream economics. His analysis demonstrates how Gerard’s work is not only a valuable source for understanding economic thought in pre-modern Europe, but also a fertile resource for scholars of law, economics, and philosophy in medieval Europe and beyond.

About the author

Lawrin Armstrong is a professor at the Center for Medieval Studies, cross-appointed to the Departments of History and Economics, at the University of Toronto.

Lawrin Armstrong's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Lawrin Armstrong has provided a precise transcription and lucid translation of three texts by Gerard of Siena..."

Speculum, Vol 94 no 3, July 2019

‘This book is fabulously useful scholarly resource, as well as a provocative call which deserves to be widely read.’

English Historical Review September 2017

‘To bring together in this way intellectual history and economic history is an admirable proposal and this translation a good point to start.’

Parergon vol 34:02:2017

‘Larwin Armstrong is to be praised for providing us with a valuable scholarly edition of Gerard’s influential work.’

Economic History Review vol 69:04:2016

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