They Who Give from Evil
The Response of the Eastern Church to Moneylending in the Early Christian Era
Imprint: Pickwick Publications
"Focusing on the Greek patristic tradition, Ihssen shows how a millennium of reflection on the problem of usury, codified in ancient Greek philosophy, the Hebrew Scriptures, Roman law, and the New Testament, was used to elaborate a nuanced and consistently critical attitude towards the practice of taking interest on a loan, culminating in the brilliant writings of Gregory of Nyssa. Witty and engaging, this book will interest a wide readership."
--T. Allan Smith, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies
"Ihssen's patient study describes Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa's teachings on usury against the backdrop of the ancient world, of biblical teaching, and of other Christian voices in late antiquity. The result is a book that is both timely in its warnings against economic injustice, and illuminating in its elucidation of early Christian teachings on usury. Most importantly, Ihssen shows that Nyssa's approach to usury has its own unique emphases."
--Hans Boersma, Regent College
"They Who Give from Evil attempts something quite bold: to ask the modern world to rethink its passive acceptance of buying and selling interest-earning loans with the moral and ethical insights of two writers who died sixteen centuries ago. . . . By the end, readers will have enjoyed learning something about moneylending in late antiquity as much as they will have enjoyed Ihssen's subtle questioning of ourselves."
--Brian Matz, Carroll College
"Loans and debts have a timeless power to foster shame, moral silence, and dehumanizing injustices that cripple individuals, societies, and nation-states. Ihssen's welcomed scholarly overview of early Greek and Christian voices about this 'evil gift' tells stories that are painfully familiar even today. Her book will appeal to anyone interested in the problem of poverty and ethical responses to economic rights."
--Susan R. Holman, Harvard School of Public Health