Book Review: The Sacred Economy of Ancient Israel

Sacred Economy of Ancient Israel (Boer)In The Sacred Economy of Ancient Israel, Roland Boer offers an economic study intended to bring contemporary social science into dialogue with the world of Ancient Israel. Focusing on the allocation and extraction economic patterns in ancient Israel and the historic interplay between these institutional systems, Boer argues that a Marxist analysis of the economic and social world of ancient Israel reveals a sacred complexity of economic institutions and activities which existed in tension with one another. As correlative arguments, Boer pushes back against postclassical assumptions of a proto-market economy in ancient Israel, advocates for a broader application of social scientific research to biblical studies, argues for an integrated understanding of the sacred and secular in Israel, and in contrast to numerous contemporary studies contends that a complexity of institutions formed the basis of ancient Israel’s economy. Central to this study are the five building blocks of ancient Israel’s religiously regulated sacred economy—subsistence survival, kinship households, patronage, estates, and tribute exchanges—and the three regimes in which these foundational institutions developed—systems of subsistence, palatine, and booty. Continue reading

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Book Review: Is College Worth It? (Bennett)

Is College Worth ItHalf of the college graduates in 2010-11 were unemployed or dramatically underemployed in 2013. Student loan debt is mounting for thousands of people across the country. More people are finding it difficult to get a well paying job with only a bachelors degree. Many people know that there are some problems with the American Higher Education System. But few take the time to sit down and really examine the costs and benefits of the American College Dream. To critically assess these issues (and more) comes the latest book from New York Times Best selling author William J. Bennett and David Wilezol, Is College Worth It? A Former United States Secretary of Education and a Liberal Arts Graduate Expose the Broken Promise of Higher Education. Continue reading