Love of money

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In Jewish and Christian tradition, the love of money is condemned as a sin primarily based on interpretations of texts such as Ecclesiastes 5.10 and 1 Timothy 6:10. The Jewish and Christian condemnation of avarice and greed in relation to money finds parallels in Solon and Aristotle,[1] and Massinissa - who ascribed love of money to Hannibal and the Carthaginians.[2]


Berachya Hanakdan lists "love of money" as a secular love,[3] while Israel Salanter considers love of money for its own sake a non-universal inner force.[4] A tale about Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt (1748-1825), rabbi in Iasi, recounts that he, who normally scorned money, had the habit of looking kindly on money before giving it to the poor at Purim, since only in valuing the gift could the gift express love of God.[5] Berachot 54a teaches businessmen to "elevate their love of money to the same status as their love of God, which means that they should thereby love God enough to follow his commandment."[6]


Source text[edit]

The primary Greek text, 1 Timothy 6:10, can be read in various ways. The grammarian Daniel B. Wallace lists six alternative possible translations. There are two reasons for this: first, it is difficult to tell whether the noun "root" is intended to be indefinite, definite, or qualitative. Second, the Greek word for "all" may mean "all without exclusion" or "all without distinction".[7]

Cultural history[edit]

Augustine defines love of money as a subcategory of avarice.[8] Luther referred to the love of money in accusations both against the Catholic Church and against commerce, in sermons which have been charged with anti-semitic undertones.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gilles Dostaler Keynes and His Battles - Page 163 - 2007 "The condemnation of the love of money is part of a long tradition, having its origins in the Bible: 'He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity' (Ecclesiastes, 5.10). Solon, who had exonerated the debts of the Athenians, wrote in one of the poems composed to support his reforms: The man ... for whom Keynes had the greatest admiration,16 denounced chrematistics, the pursuit of wealth for its own sake."
  2. ^ Polybius The Histories of Polybius: Books 1-16, 18, 20-36, 38, And 39 2004 Page 298 "... wind, but the character of their compatriots—and more in detail by Massanissa, when he discoursed on the love of money displayed by Carthaginians in general and especially by Hannibal and by this Mago who was known as the Samnite.
  3. ^ Berachya Hanakdan, Ethical Treatises of Berachya, Son of Rabbi Natronai Ha Nakdan Hermann Gollancz 2003 Page 172 "The love of money, and amassing of wealth. 6. The love of many children. 7. The desire to colonise and build. 8. The love of long life, and completing die round of years. 9. The love 5 of power and authority, and seeking after greatness. 10."
  4. ^ Hillel Goldberg Israel Salanter, Text, Structure, Idea: The Ethics and Theology of ... 1982 - Page 161 "Rabbi Israel answers explicitly that the makeup of the majority of inner forces is beyond even human estimation.29 In that ... on-universal inner forces include love of money for the sake of expending it and love of money for its own sake and ..."
  5. ^ Simcha Raz, Dov Peretz Elkins Tales of the Righteous 2012 Page 150 "During the first year that Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apt became rabbi in Iasi, Romania, the people of the city sent ... my heart to appreciate money, and when my love of money rises sufficiently, only then can I distribute it to the poor."
  6. ^ Larry Kahaner Values, Prosperity, and the Talmud: Business Lessons from the Ancient Rabbis 2004 "Because money is so important to these people, they should follow the rabbis' advice and elevate their love of money to the same status as their love of God, which means that they should thereby love God enough to follow his commandment ...Berachot 54a"
  7. ^ Daniel B. Wallace Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics : An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament 1997 Page 265 "1 Tim 6:10 pi£ce JHXVTOW TWV KCCKWV eativ f| (juXapyupia This is a difficult text to translate, having the following possibilities: (1) "the love of money is a root of all evils," (2) "the love of money is the root of all evils," (3) "the love of money ... The reason for these six possibilities is that first, it is difficult to tell whether pi£a is indefinite (options 1 & 4), definite (2 & 5), or qualitative (3 & 6), and secondly, JtdtvTwv may mean "all without exclusion" (1, 2, & 3) or "all without distinction" (4, 5, ..."
  8. ^ St. Augustine: The Literal Meaning of Genesis - Livres 7 à 12 - Page 147 "In the stricter meaning of the word, avarice is what is more commonly called love of money. But St. Paul in using the word intended to go from the special to the general meaning and wished avarice to be understood in the broad sense of the."
  9. ^ David W. Jones Reforming the Morality of Usury: A Study of the Differences That ... 2004 - Page 53 "In this work Luther wrote: [The love of money] is so crass in the case of the pope and ecclesiastical estate that sticks and stones cry out to heaven. But this is nothing in comparison with what few people see, namely that the ecclesiastical estate ...
  10. ^ Eric W. Gritsch Martin Luther's Anti-Semitism: Against His Better Judgment 2012- Page 57 "In a sermon of 1519, Luther joined the discussion on the use and abuse of money-lending, linked to the practice of 'usury. ... German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate,' Luther associated commerce and the love of money ..."