Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
Economy of Grace is divided into three essays that were originally presented as academic lectures. Kathryn Tanner’s goal for this book is to present the greatest contrast between the Christian story and its vision of economy and the economic principles by which the present world abides.
In the first chapter, Tanner examines the theories of John Locke, Pierre Bourdieu, Max Weber, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and other social theorists and discusses their views on the relationship between grace and money. All of the theories have shortcomings, and therefore Tanner proceeds to describe her own theory regarding an “economy of grace.” She states that the oppressed are looking for a way out of the competitive circulation of goods. They are attracted to a vision of grace offered without regard to the distinction of status. She states that Christianity attempts to institute a circulation of goods to be possessed by all in the same degree without reduction or loss. Goods are distributed by God and should be distributed by human beings in imitation of God. The purpose of giving is to bring all recipients to the level of the giver, ultimately God. The whole is given to each, awaiting the expansion of the recipients’ capacity to receive the whole that God and his followers are trying to bring about. In this way, the good is distributed without the giver’s suffering any loss. Tanner compares this giving without depletion to that of the Sun, which remains...
(The entire section is 895 words.)
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