"THE once-glowing core body of law within the Judeo-Christian Bible has become all
but ignored - indeed, rejected - by the colder temper of our times. This core provided
for periodic restoration of economic order by rituals of social renewal based on
freedom from debt-servitude and from the loss of one's access to self-support on the
land. So central to Israelite moral values was this tradition that it framed the
composition of both the Old and New Testaments.
Radical as the idea of cancelling debts and restoring the population's means of
subsistence seems to modern eyes, it had been a conservative tradition in Bronze Age
Mesopotamia for some two millennia. What was conserved was self-sufficiency for the
rural family-heads who made up the infantry as well as the productive base of Near
Eastern economies. Conversely, what was radically disturbing in archaic times was the
idea of unrestrained wealth-seeking. It took thousands of years for the idea of progress to become inverted, to connote freedom for the wealthy to deprive the peasantry of their lands and personal liberty.
So far has the modern idea of market efficiency and progress gone that today,
although the Bible remains our civilization's defining book, it is perceived largely as a
composite of stories, myth and wisdom literature best epitomized perhaps in spirituals
and hymns, not economic laws. The Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule have so dissociated from the economic legislation of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy that whoever takes these laws in earnest is considered utopian and anachronistic if looking backward nostalgically, or radical if adopting there as a guide for current activism. Yet these laws formed the take-off point for Christ upon his return to Nazareth's synagogue, and for his denunciation of the money-changers who had taken over Jerusalem's temple. As late as medieval Spain the tradition of the Jubilee Year was kept alive by Maimonides and Ibn Adret. To dismiss these laws is thus to remove much of the Bible from the context of its times, above all from its Bronze Age Near Eastern matrix."
Is it not interesting that modern fundamentalists pick and choose those parts of their holy scripture that suits their interests while rejecting those that don't. As Michael Hudson stated:
"...periodic restoration of economic order by rituals of social renewal based on freedom from debt-servitude and from the loss of one's access to self-support on the land. So central to Israelite moral values was this tradition that it framed the composition of both the Old and New Testaments."
This is impressive but it doesn't sell me on supporting the xian reconstructionists who want to replace the Constitution with the OT.