Tom Boland, Ray Griffin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Economic theology is concerned with “the ghost of dead religious beliefs”, and our contention is that purgatory, despite being jettisoned by Protestantism and marginal within modern Catholicism, informs economic orientations, especially among the less fortunate who are intermittently unemployed or “jobseekers”. Purgatory briefly flourished in medieval times as a third space between heaven and hell, imagined as a concrete place where quite specific edifying punishments shrove off past sins - a remarkably earthly other world. The importance of purgatory was incrementally strengthened during the early medieval period, as the image of God as a divine Judge comes to the fore. Famously, the abuses of purgatory in selling alms and indulgences to fund the Church and ease the conscience of the rich were protested by Martin Luther King in 1517, and eventually rejected outright by John Calvin and others.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Economic Theology
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781351973625
ISBN (Print)9781315267623
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2018


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