Charity and Usury: Introduction
Since the onset of modernity, we seem to have gradually lost the primordial link between charity and usury, a connection that, to past traditions of thought, was considered usual and crucial. To these traditions, it was typical to contrast usury to charity, with the latter depicted as the superior alternative to the former. Usury was considered a system of oppression and exploitation, and charity one of mercy and justice. Part 3 attempts to recreate this state of mind that views usury in relation to charity, and vice versa. We provide an intellectual history of each concept, followed by an examination of their connection. We focus on the Christian and Islamic viewpoints, as well as the opinions of Greek philosophers and secular schools of socio-economic thought.