Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

Get access Subject: Biblical Studies And Early Christianity
General Editors: David G. Hunter, Boston College, United States, Paul J.J. van Geest, Tilburg University, Netherlands, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Help us improve our service

 The Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity focuses on the history of early Christian texts, authors, ideas. Its content is intended to bridge the gap between the fields of New Testament studies and patristics, covering the whole period of early Christianity up to 600 CE. The BEEC aims to provide a critical review of the methods used in Early Christian Studies and to update the historiography.

More information:


(3,241 words)

Author(s): Hengstmengel, Joost W.
Denoting today an excessive rate of interest, in late antiquity the term “usury” (τόκος, usura, foenus) more generally referred to any interest on a loan, irrespective of the amount or type, in money or in kind. Contemporary Christian writers loosely defined usury as “what redounds to the loan” ( fenoris redundantia; Tert. Marc. 4.17) or “whatever is added to the capital” ( quodcunque sorti accedit; Ambr. Tob. 14.49). In even plainer terms, a usurer was he who reclaimed more than the principal of a loan (Bas. Hom. II Ps. XIV 1).Interest collecting was one of the social issues that th…
Date: 2024-01-19