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Johann Gerhard and the Good Use of Usury

Mathias Schmoeckel

Abstract


Gerhard’s argumentation is peculiar and intricate. He starts with the clear prohibitions of usury in the Bible and in other authoritative texts. After this he presents his doubt that interest rates could be legitimate or even necessary in a state. He discovers that “usury” by definition means all forbidden interest rates in contrast to legitimate contracts and their rates according to the rules. It is only a “dispute about words,” therefore, to look only at the term “usury.”

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