Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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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 pl…

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Hengstmengel, Joost W., “Usury”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 02 October 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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