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Business and the Development of Christian Social Thought

Editorial

Abstract

Gratian, the great medieval codifier of canon law, included this aphorism: “It is always unlawful for men to fornicate, but it is sometimes lawful to do business.” To say that the Christian tradition’s interaction with the world of business has been mercurial might be an overstatement, however. There has been a relatively clear development in the attitudes of Christian theologians, from the church fathers to the present day, moving from outright criticism and cautious skepticism (if not unambiguous rejection) to relative critical appreciation and cautious optimism (if not uncritical embrace).

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