Heavenly Treasure and Sin as Debt: A Critique of Recent Studies of Debt in Luke (and Matthew)
October 1, 2021 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM On Demand Save the Date
Anthony Giambrone’s 2017 book Sacramental Charity, Creditor Christology, and the Economy of Salvation in Luke’s Gospel seeks to elucidate the topic of financial imagery in Luke by comparing Luke’s content with Jewish charity discourse.1 His work is situated in a relatively fresh stream of scholarship which begins with Gary Anderson’s work on the meaning of “sin” in the Hebrew Bible and early Christian writing.2 In brief, Anderson argues that the dominant metaphor for sin shifts from sin as a burden (a weight to be lifted) to the metaphor of debt (an account to be ecompensed).
Anderson’s suggestion that debt is the dominant metaphor acts as the launching pad, not only for Giambrone’s Economy of Salvation in Luke, but also the methodologically similar work of Nathan Eubank on debt imagery in Matthew.3 This paper analyses Giambrone’s argument paying close attention to his use of Second Temple literature and his exegesis of some of the Lukan parables. Several deficiencies will be observed with attendant implications for the assumed cogency of Anderson’s proposals and the parallel work of Eubank.
1 The 2017 monograph is a revision of his 2015 dissertation. Anthony Giambrone, Sacramental Charity, Creditor Christology, and the Economy of Salvation in Luke’s Gospel, WUNT 2. Reihe 439 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017);
Anthony Giambrone, “The One Who Did Mercy: Sacramental Charity, Creditor Christology, and the Economy of Salvation in Luke’s Gospel” (University of Notre Dame, 2015), https://curate.nd.edu/show/pz50gt5709r.
2 Gary A Anderson, Sin: A History (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010).
3 Matthew Eubank, “Wages of Righteousness: The Economy of Heaven in the Gospel According to Matthew” (Dissertation, Duke University, 2012), https://hdl.handle.net/10161/5399; Nathan Eubank, Wages of Cross-Bearing and Debt of Sin: The Economy of Heaven in Matthew’s Gospel (De Gruyter, 2013).
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