Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Of all the things that sustain formal religious institutions, none is more essential than material support. Without adequate income, congregations fold, denominations fail, and the faithful flock to greener pastures. Nor is any facet of religious commitment more concrete and quantifiable. Faced with skepticism about the accuracy and consistency of attendance and membership rates reported by individuals or institutions, the obvious alternative is to follow the money. Strange as it may seem, the economics of religion has yet to pay much attention to financial matters. The basic argument of this article, which suggests some first steps toward a general theory of religious finance, rests on a series of observations concerning the impact of government, production, religious beliefs, and religious competition. The article also applies the outlined principles across many different times, places, and traditions, including modern Europe, nineteenth-century Christian America, American Judaism, Buddhism, paganism, and Hinduism.

Keywords: religious finance, Europe, Christian America, religious institutions, government, religious beliefs, religious competition, religion, economics

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.