Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Economics of Paradise: On the Onset of Modernity in Antiquity
Wagner-Tsukamoto, Sigmund

New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014 pp. xiv + 262. $115.00

Description: The text searches for the origins of modern thinking in one of the best-known stories of our cultural heritage. By applying institutional and constitutional economics to biblical interpretation, it uses a new approach to reconstruct the Paradise story. By tracing the Paradise story, in economic terms - looming conflict, the rise of homo economicus, principalĖagent conflicts, prisoner's dilemma predicaments, and political economic ideals of liberty and freedom - the author challenges the old conceptual dualism between economics and theology/philosophy. Economics, in the tradition of the Scottish Enlightenment, is interpreted as 'modern ethics'; and such ethics are reconstructed for the Paradise story. As a result, the claimed dualism between 'ancient' ethics and modern 'economics as ethics' is rejected. The book pioneers a complementary 'new' unitary thesis for the Paradise story and for the Old Testament that proposes that economics can provide a unified, conceptual, 'scientific' structure to the biblical text. On this basis, not only is the Paradise story originally illuminated through economic reconstruction but the book also sets out a new, institutional economic theory of Old Testament religion. The Economics of Paradise: On the Onset of Modernity in Antiquity draws together comparisons between the ancient Paradise story and modern economics, and as such makes indispensable reading for scholars and researchers interested in ethics and economics.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pentateuch, Literature, Methods, Theological Approaches, Biblical Theology, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Theology

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). In May 2019, SBL improved security of its main site with a new login procedure that requires an email address and a password, instead of an SBL member number. RBLís login procedure is now synched to SBLís. Please use your email address and SBL password to log in to RBL. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBLís Terms of Use.

Email Address
SBL Password
 Forgot Your Password
 Join SBL or Renew Membership

Review by Gerda de Villiers
Published 7/21/2016
Citation: Gerda de Villiers, review of Sigmund Wagner-Tsukamoto, The Economics of Paradise: On the Onset of Modernity in Antiquity, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2016).

Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.


Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us