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date: 27 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The date of the separation of economics from Christian theology is debated, as is its explanation. The process also differs in Britain and America. Richard Whately and Philip Wicksteed’s accounts of the basis of separation in nineteenth-century Britain are considered, and in America the twentieth-century accounts of the impact of the Social Gospel on the founding of the American Economic Association, and of Frank Knight and Reinhold Niebuhr. Knight is a particularly interesting case in that he considered economics to be inadequate on its own while vigorously rejecting the contribution of existing Christian ethics. Economic theory ignored theology, and theology also came to ignore economic theory. The connection between the separation and the wider secularization thesis is discussed, drawing on the work of Charles Taylor.

Keywords: interdisciplinary, economics, theology, religion, Christianity, Frank Knight, Richard Whately, Wicksteed, secularization, NOMA

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