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Of Divine Economy: Refinancing Redemption
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Of Divine Economy: Refinancing Redemption


T&T Clark 2004

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Of Divine Economy: Refinancing Redemption traces some of the economic connotations of the theological doctrine of redemption. Using three "figurations"—the rich young man, the widow with two copper coins, and redemption through Christ's "down payment" for human deliverance—the book traces the way in which economic status is linked to the state of grace in early Christian texts. Using feminist, poststructuralist, and postcolonial theories as tools to read ancient texts, this book tries to retrieve subversive economic agency for the complex locations of self and society in a globalized, networked age of tragic and hopeful interdependencies. The figure of the trickster, often suspended between deceiver and deliverer, helps reconstruct a flexibly located, thoughtful, and hopeful way of incarnating traces of divine economy in the life of persons and communities.

The originality of Of Divine Economy lies not only in its insistence on reading the theological locus of redemption as an economic metaphor, but also in its focus on the economic subtexts of Christian society's economic constructions. Grau's unique project merges together economic, historical, literary, and psycho-social analysis with theological critique and construction.


  • Chapter 1—Of Divine Currencies in Postmodernity
  • Chapter 2—Found Lacking: Masculine Hysteria and the Economics of Redemption
  • Chapter 3—Ms. Appropriating Properties: Hysterical Women and the Gendering of Redemption
  • Chapter 4—Divine Commerce: A Countereconomic Reading of Redemption
  • Chapter 5—Divine Economy Refinanced

Praise for the Print Edition

Is Christianity complicit in oppressive economic regimes or does it harbor the potential for their rectification? In Of Divine Economy, Marion Grau argues that both of these propositions are true, both for antiquity and our own time. In witty and astute readings of New Testament and patristic texts, Grau imagines a Christian economics that is responsible in its realism while revolutionary in its staging of a marketplace teeming with religious tricksters and an economy gone divinely awry.

—Naomi Seidman, director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and the author of A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish

Grau’s reconstruction of divine economy serves her readers best as itself a trickster-like agent, luring her readers into that "third space," that ambiguous uneasy space where the dark side of ransom theories of atonement and the oppressive tendencies of market capitalism are nuanced by attention to their usefulness in the development of countereconomic theologies of redemption . . . the ease with which Grau engages classical and biblical texts in her reconstruction of divine economy offers her readers insight into the concepts of redemption, exchange, capitalism, and gender that challenge us to acknowledge their complexity, as well as our complicity in the employment of these concepts in oppressive ways. This book will be useful in the theology classroom with adequate interpretive help. It is a must-read for those scholars with interests at the intersection of theology, economy, feminist theology, and poststructuralism.

Anglican Theological Review, Vol. 88, No.1

Grau's book sizzles and sparkles. Her multi-dimensional treatment of the early Christian symbol of oikonomia avoids the hopeless hopes of the academic left and the dreary defenses of orthodoxy. Performing a 'trickster' hermeneutics, she stages a dazzling and improbable encounter: progressive Christian thought on economic and ecological justice, deconstruction, postcolonial and feminist theory come together at the cutting edge of theology. There is a new spirit for theology blowing through these pages.

—Catherine Keller, author of Apocalypse Now & Then and Face of the Deep, Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew University

Grau's work uses the powerful image of a Divine economy elaborated in patristic theology in order to allow Christianity to critique contemporary economic models, both liberal and Marxist. Grau is working generally within the paradigms of process theology established by leading theologians John Cobb and Catherine Keller. It is fair to say that Grau shows promise to be the successor to these two outstanding figures.

—Daniel Boyarin, Professor, Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley

Marion Grau's Of Divine Economy is a bold and successful attempt to, as she says, map new spaces for theological thinking. In a style that challenges and delights, the reader is asked to rethink old categories with familiar images that are presented in sharply new ways. She constructively brings us beyond accepted dualities in a way that engages our ideas, patterns of thought, and lifestyle. It is an urgent and vital contribution.

—The Right Reverend Mark MacDonald, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska

Product Details

  • Title: Of Divine Economy: Refinancing Redemption
  • Author: Marion Grau
  • Publisher: T&T Clark
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 255

About Marion Grau

Marion Grau is Assistant Professor of Theology at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, a member of the Graduate Theological Union. She is the co-editor of Interpreting the Postmodern: Responses to "Radical Orthodoxy." Her essays have appeared in Strike Terror No More; Theology, Ethics, and the New War; Postcolonialism and Theology; and Crosscurrents.

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