Economic Ideas that Built Europe: Philipp Rössner’s new book on Martin Luther!


Congratulations to Dr Philipp Rössner, Lecturer in Modern European History, on the publication of his edited monograph Martin Luther: On Commerce and Usury (1524), (Anthem Press, 2016). As Philipp comments, this book marks an important intervention in the field because it provides ‘a scholarly introduction plus a revised translation of Martin Luther’s economic thought as presented in his 1524 pamphlet “On Commerce and Usury”.’  In his teachings on indulgences, Luther picked up on the question of hoarding money, and was among the earliest voices in early modern Europe calling for an ‘ethical’ economics. Luther‘s work prefigured many later contributions to modern economic theory, from the mercantilists and cameralists to the German Historical School.

Reviewers have already begun praising the book:

‘In his deeply erudite introduction, Philipp Rössner offers a vivid contextualization of Luther’s thinking on how commerce should be managed in order to promote a proper Christian society. Rössner not only explores Luther’s ideas on commerce and ethics from the point of view of modern economics, but he uses Luther’s perspective as a critical lens through which he examines, with great nuance and clarity, the state of economic reasoning today.’ —Carl Wennerlind, Columbia University

‘Luther’s On Commerce and Usury is much more than a sermon. It is a powerful reminder that markets are human constructs and depend on rules for their existence and operation. This inconvenient truth deserves reflection, as Philipp Rössner demonstrates in his fascinating essay. By delving into the context and meaning of a sixteenth-century classic, he speaks to the present.’ —Francesco Boldizzoni, University of Turin.

For more details, see the publishers website

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