Jump directly to A Behavioral Economic Reading of Ruth
Ruth is a Hebrew Bible book that is easy to read in one setting. With only four short chapters, the narrative details cultural and social practices in ancient Israelite society, including social welfare, harvest production, treatment of immigrants, property rights, legal procedures, and more. Ruth is a character in the narrative remembered by Jewish tradition for her faithfulness and devotion to the one(s) she loves. However, you may not realize that Ruth was not an Israelite herself, even though she became the grandmother of Israel’s King David (Ruth 4.22). Additionally, Ruth is remembered in Christian tradition for her placement in the ancestry of Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 1.5).
Since so many socio-economic matters are covered in Ruth, reading the narrative through an economic lens helps us decipher some significant parts of the story. Behavioral economics is a sub-discipline that considers how social influences affect economic outcomes. My podcast is a presentation I delivered on this subject in London at the 2022 Tyndale Old Testament Study Group Conference.
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A Behavioral Economic Reading of Ruth
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