Christogenea Europe, December 14th, 2014 - Usury in Europe

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William Finck's opening remarks:

The Nibelungs were a race of dwarfs from whom the 5th century Burgundian kings obtained a great horde of gold. Legend has it that the gold ultimately ended up at the bottom of the Rhine. Rumpelstiltskin was an imp who would spin straw into gold in return for a Christian baby. Modern commentators cannot understand why the little old dwarf would want a baby, but anyone who knows the jews would indeed understand. It is shameful, that wherever we see such things in Germanic pagan literature, the pagans are portrayed as being lustful of the gold of these dwarfs, whom history better knows as jews. There is little to no moral ground upon which pagans can stand in order to reject the treachery of the jews in White society.

The pagan Greek and Roman historical records rarely discuss usury, and I cannot recall ever having seen it denounced or described in the histories as a moral problem. But Livy did indeed describe more than one uprising of the people against usurers, not complaining about usury itself but complaining about interest rates that were too high.

On the other hand, however, some of the notable Greek philosophers did see usury as a moral problem.

From Platos' Laws, written circa 360 BC. Of course, these were a philosophers suggestions and they were never actually adopted as a body of law: “and no one shall deposit money with another whom he does not trust as a friend, nor shall he lend money upon interest; and the borrower should be under no obligation to repay either capital or interest.”

From Aristotles' Politics written circa 350 BC, we see much the same attitude: “There are two sorts of wealth-getting, as I have said; one is a part of household management, the other is retail trade: the former necessary and honorable, while that which consists in exchange is justly censured; for it is unnatural, and a mode by which men gain from one another. The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of any modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.”

But the pagan governments never heeded the advice of Plato or Aristotle. The pagan Greek states, as well as pagan Rome, never forbade the plague of usury.

However later Christian writers did discuss usury at length, and always denounced it as immoral. Among these the most famous in recent times were Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther, however Christian writers condemned usury from the very beginning. We see condemnations of or calls for the prohibition of usury in the writings of Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, John Chrysostom, Apollonius, Cyprian, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome. The Apostolic Canons, dating to around 380 AD prohibited the taking of usury by Christian clergy. The Council of Arles in 314 and the First Council of Nicaea in 325 had the same prohibitions, while the Council of Elvira, 305 or 306, the First Council of Carthage in 345 and the Council of Aix in 789 prohibited usury to Christians entirely.

While the Bishop of Rome did not yet have temporal authority over other bishops, since that was not granted to him until the time of Justinian, the man known to history as Leo the Great, who was bishop of Rome from 440 to 461 AD, had in the year 443 written a letter addressed to the Christian bishops of neighboring regions in Italy, Campania, Picene, and Tuscany, which contained a section dealing with usury. It prohibited usury and it included the people as well as the clergy in its prohibition. It described usury as unjust among other uncharitable practices which exploit the poor. It is no wonder, that not even a hundred years later, the Jewish merchants of Naples and other cities met with the Goths and assisted them in their cause against the Romans, and assisted in the resistance in Libya. The Jews thrived in pagan Rome, and ostensibly the Jewish merchants were on the side of the Goths because the Roman and Byzantine Christians were outlawing usury. The Byzantines ultimately prevailed, and the Jews were virtually excluded from openly practicing usury with Christians in Europe for a thousand years, until the 5th Lateran Council made usury legal once again, under a crypto-jew De Medici pope.

The Protestant Reformation soon followed, and the German Reformers forbid usury again, however the resulting 30 Years' War led to greater financial freedom for jews. That war was fought for reasons deeper than what appears on the surface. Jews were comfortable in pagan Rome, among pagan Germans, but were always struggling against Christians. True Christianity is the only moral defense against the wiles of the devil. After the 30 Years' War, usury became the tool by which the Jews would undermine Christian Society entirely, and look at where we are today.

See Sven's Short History of Usury in Europe