What a super analysis, Michael.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, November 28, 2002 11:07
Subject: [gang8] Geoffrey's query re
your query about Hillel, your comment is quite right, as is my statement. The
practice of debt cancellation began when the palace was the major creditor,
for advancing goods to merchants and land to sharecroppers. It was easy to
cancel barley debts after crop failures, as the rent that was anticipated
obviously could not be paid.
By Hillel's time, credit had passed into
private hands, and took the form of money-loans rather than in-kind advances.
Lenders would not lend money subject to the Jubilee Year. The times had
changed drastically from the earlier condition.
Furthermore, as Baruch
Levine has shown, the idea of the Jubilee Year arose following Ezra's and
Nehemiah's resettlement of Judea from Babylon in the 4th century. Under these
circumstances the "return to the original owners" constituted grabbing it from
the existing holders. It is as if Israel today were to "return" the
Palestinian lands to the new invaders.
Not too idealistic, I suppose, but
pragmatism often uses idealism as a guise, pretending to return to "the old