(Guardian) Giles Fraser–Money is the only god the Tories want us to worship on a Sunday

A strict monotheist, Soubry wants us to worship the god of finance on a Sunday. All other gods must be smashed, smeared, ridiculed. Only the god of money deserves our true and unquestioning obedience. Well, I do wish she’d stop ramming her religion down our throats. I don’t want to be more productive. I want to lie about on the sofa watching rubbish TV. Or chat aimlessly to the people I love. Or just sit under a tree and do nothing. These are perfectly respectable things to do.

So why is Sunday special? The Christian answer is more complicated than expected. Early Christians moved their “day of rest” from the seventh day of the week to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday. Despite the fourth commandment mandating Saturday, ie seventh day, sabbath observance, this move was partly a way of honouring the resurrection, which happened “on the first day of the week”; partly about distinguishing Christianity from Judaism; and partly a way of colonising the posh Roman sun-worshipping day.

But it also conveniently distanced Christianity, and its new imperial friends, from all that dangerously redistributive stuff about the jubilee, to which the sabbath is fundamentally connected. For the seventh day of the week corresponded to the seventh day of creation, when God rested ”“ and from this derives: 1) rest on the seventh day; 2) rest for the land on the seventh year (which on the Jewish calender is this year); and 3) the forgiveness of all debts ”“ the jubilee ”“ on the seventh times seventh year.

Read it all.


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5 comments on “(Guardian) Giles Fraser–Money is the only god the Tories want us to worship on a Sunday

  1. driver8 says:

    1. Is it wicked of me, to smile wrly to see an argument being made from Leviticus?

    2. The redistributive stuff isn’t quite right. The jubilee is often eschatologized (after all, Jesus does so) but this goes along with a singular concern for almsgiving (“store up treasure in heaven” etc.) that challenged and ultimately transformed Roman patterns of euergetism. Peter Brown has a couple of wonderful recent books that illuminate this.

  2. driver8 says:

    Little reading list for those interested:

    1. Peter Brown, “Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD ”

    2. Peter Brown, “The Ransom of the Soul: Afterlife and Wealth in Early Western Christianity”

    3. Gary Anderson, “Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition”

  3. Terry Tee says:

    Before his untimely departure from St Paul’s I came across a video of Giles Fraser giving a talk there. If I remember correctly he said: ‘Eternal life is good Platonism but it is not good Christianity.’ Or words to that effect. Since then I have stopped taking seriously anything he says.

  4. dwstroudmd+ says:

    driver8, if it is wicked of thee, it is wicked of me as well. I actually did a double-take to make sure I was reading what by whom! God is Good, truly!

  5. Jill Woodliff says:

    A [url=https://msdeltaprayer.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/sabbath/]prayer[/url] regarding the observance of the Sabbath.