Between Religion and Economics: Towards a Shift of Paradigm in Early Modern Economic Literature

Eleonora Belligni


At the beginning of the early modern age, philosophers, religious and political thinkers writing on economics had to deal with categories that were still based on the religious certainties of the medieval West, and with a paradigm built on Aristotelian dialectic between oikos (the family economy) and chrèmata (wealth). From this frame, articulated and innovative investigations on the contemporary economic world were born in the late Middle Ages of Europe: but up until the late seventeenth century, at least, the Aristotelian paradigm remained a rigid cage for most of the writers. Yet, both the impact of some theoretical work on the relationship between religion and economy, and some significant changing in European scenario started to break this cage. Evidence of a shifting of paradigm could be detected even in Counter-Reformation authors like the Italian Giovanni Botero.

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