Philippe Simonnot, graduate of the Institute of Political Studies of Paris, Doctor of Economics, Director of The Observatory of Religions, senior fellow of the Centre for a New Europe, Ex-Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Paris-Nanterre, and author of more than twenty books on Economics and History, works on the links between religions and economics. His last book published in France end of January 2008 is titled God’s Trade, Economics of judaism, christianism and islam.
For the first time an economist has read and analysed the Holy textes of the great monotheistic religions, with economic tools. The book demonstrates that a basic economic point of view, reachable by everyone, can bring into light “the fabrication” and evolution of the Jewish, Christian and Moslem monotheistic religions.
It is done in a complete and clear way and addressed to both believers and non-believers alike.
It is indeed a genuine deal that God made with Abraham, the founding father as reclaimed by the three religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam). A deal that leads to “The Promised Land”, still today a contentious matter.
Paradoxically the “God’s Trade” aims at ending competition on “the religious market”, since monotheism gives monopoly to the belief of a “jealous”, unique and exclusive God.
This belief facilitates the reception of tithes, donations and offerings which finance the everyday life of priests and their sometimes sumptuous investments. The temple of Jerusalem is an emblematic example which shows the process of wealth accumulation. Although this example is a model for other religions.
Using a material unexplored yet in France, the author is eager to make a detail of both the origin and functionning of the jewish sanctuary and its extension. As the notion of “natural” monopoly must rely on State to be maintained, it is submitted to the market law and must be cautious for instance, not to increase “prices”, or not to lie about the quality of its services.
The history of belief is highlighted in a singular way by the author who choses to analyse religion from an economic point of view.
By Philippe Simonnot