Ancient Economic Thought - Vol. 1

Ancient Economic Thought - Vol. 1

Ancient Economic Thought - Vol. 1

Ancient Economic Thought - Vol. 1


The contributors explore the interrelationship between economic practice and religion, ethics and social structure in a number of ancient cultures, including ancient East Indian, Hebraic, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman and emerging European cultures.


B.B. Price

It is clear from the endeavours of academics and the gatherings they have fostered in the most recent few years that interest and serious scholarship in the subject of economic ideas in antiquity are increasing. The academic excitement is also broadening to become virtually worldwide. In this volume alone are presented contributions from scholars in India, the United States, Israel, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Canada, each with a cross-cultural awareness of one or more traditions of economic thinking whose roots derive from antiquity. It is also clear just from the scholars here presented that the purview to undertake the requisite research in ancient economic ideas extends through the disciplinary boundaries of economics, archeology, classics and history. Appreciation of the benefits of the variety of approaches to the study of ancient economic ideas is clearly reflected by the scholars themselves. Also, accessibility to the research area is undoubtedly enhanced by this complementarity, for readers both in the academic community and in the greater world of general interest. It is acknowledged that lack of familiarity with a cultural setting and the theological or philosophical terminology or argumentation of a particular period can make the subject seem daunting. This volume hopes, however, to have so contextualized the ancient facet of the history of economic ideas as to sustain the breath of new life and interest growing in the previously relatively ignored esoteric connections between classical and archeological studies and ancient intellectual history, and economics.

It is, of course, a constant temptation, especially for economists, to see connecting links, if not direct continua, between the ancient thinkers and later writers of economics, such as Adam Smith. The editorial position for this volume has been, however, to recognize that the task to present the ideas of the ancients themselves is large enough, and that the necessary substantiation of the lineage in terms of evidence of direct transmission, let alone a significant parallelism or similarity of ideas, must await a different volume. The few references to modern economic thought figure as aids to a non-anachronistic understanding of the past, assuredly not as gratuitous arrows pointing to the relevance of earlier ideas.

This volume's exciting collection of documentary and analytical material, grounded in many respects in ancient economic history, is intended to

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