I have been putting together an outline for a new book in Fortress Press’s new ‘God and Mammon’ series and am pondering a title. The book will be a critical study of the crucial but unfortunate role of the Bible in the construction of classical economic theories of capitalism. The main focus will be on: Grotius, an Arminian theologian, statesman and propagator of the doctrine of the ‘free seas’; Thomas Hobbes and the economic Behemoth; John Locke’s problem in arguing for private property, given that it didn’t exist in Genesis (For Locke, the Bible ‘has God for its author; salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter’. Given that it contains infallible truth, he vowed, ‘I shall immediately condemn and quit any opinion of mine, as soon as I am shown that it is contrary to any revelation in the holy scripture’); and the Reverend Thomas Malthus unique feat of locating the problem of theodicy at the heart of political economy. I also deal with Adam Smith, David Ricardo and J.S. Mill, although in their cases (into the 19th century), a strong moral element sublates the Bible (Malthus is the link).
Anyway, a title. Given that the title of Adam Smith’s slightly influential work, Wealth of Nations, is drawn from Isaiah 60:5 (and 61:6; 66:12), I have been doing some reading and came up with:
Dismay of Nations (from Jer 10:1).
Idols of Nations (Jer 14:22; Ps 135:15)
Abominations of Nations (2 Chr 36:14)
I’m leaning towards the second, but haven’t decided yet.