Starting with an incarnational theology, we affirm a Jesus who appeared in a specific geographical, economic and historical context. When details of the text such as the names of cities or provinces and occupations are skimmed over on the way to some alleged moral of the story, a great deal of meaning is lost, including economic meaning.
But when we read the Gospel accounts carefully, including the economically sensitive details of place names and occupations, we see clear patterns emerge. For example, Jesus had no confrontations over wealth in the region of Galilee, which was lower-tax, more decentralized and more entrepreneurial than the capital region, Judea.
All of Jesus’ confrontations over wealth -- with the Rich Young Ruler, Zacchaeus the Tax Collector, and the Money Changers -- occur in close geographical, social and occupational proximity to the ruling political elite which functioned through economic extraction. Jesus’ economic discourses pointedly criticized the systems of wealth extraction via access to power and never criticized wealth created through productive activity.
This framework sheds light on various problems in New Testament interpretation, such as the variations between the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain. It sheds light on the economic dimension of the Magnificat. Details of various parables such as the Parable of the Rich Fool and the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man point towards specific contemporaneous historical figures; for example, the High Priest.
We see Jesus functioning as a Prophet confronting social evil and also warning about the consequences of disobedience. The failure to heed Jesus’ warnings about economic extraction and debt accumulation eventually helps lead to the destruction of Jerusalem.
When: Weekly on Saturday, from August 28 - October 2, 2021
Time: 1:00-3:00pm CST
List of Readings:
The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics, Jerry Bowyer
Optional: Christian Origins and the Ancient Economy, David Fiensy.
About the Instructor
Jerry Bowyer is the Chief Economist of Vident Financial, which has more than $1 billion directly under management. He is also author of The
Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics and host of the podcast “Meeting of Minds with Jerry Bowyer.” He is Editor of Town Hall Finance, Editor of Christian Post Business, serves on the Editorial Board of Salem Communications, is Resident Economist with Kingdom Advisors, is Senior Fellow in Financial Economics at the Center for Cultural Leadership, and is
President of Bowyer Research. He has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson and with the Beechwood Company, which is the family office associated with Federated Investors. He consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, including airport privatization with Wilbur Ross, the current US Commerce Secretary. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups. He has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm.
Jerry holds a Sacred Theology Licentiate from the Collegium Augustinianum and a Bachelor’s degree from Robert Morris University. He has lectured at Oxford University’s Wycliffe Hall, has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent College, and has guest-lectured at Carnegie Mellon University’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy, at Grove City College, at Northwest University, at Lancaster Bible College, and at Indiana Wesleyan University. In 1997 Jerry delivered the commencement address at Robert Morris University and was the youngest commencement speaker in its history. The school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.
Jerry has been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News and has been a Forbes.com columnist. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, The Wall Street Journal as well as many other publications. He is also the author of The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by Harper Collins and of The Bush Boom.
Jerry was consulted by the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the economic crisis of 2008. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet the Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished
guests including Vice President Dick Cheney, Treasury Secretary John Snow, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.
Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest three of their seven children.
Theopolis Institute admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies or scholarship programs.
*This requirement was added in July 2016. For those who entered the Certificate Program earlier than that date, the oral examination is voluntary.
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