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Title: Homo Economicus and the Stories of Jacob: On the Methodological Relevance of Rational Choice Theory for Studying the Hebrew Bible
Authors: Wagner-Tsukamoto, Sigmund
First Published: 1-Jan-2013
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers
Citation: Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 2013, 25 (1)
Abstract: Economics is widely accused of being a portrayer of a dark and dismal image of human nature (i.e. its model of homo economicus as a self-interested, even selfish and opportunistic maximizer of its own gains). This paper argues that the model of homo economicus is not an empirical or prescriptive image of human nature but a useful, “heuristic”, methodical instrument for economic theorizing (in our case, for the economic study of religion that connects to the Hebrew Bible). The paper demonstrates that in generic, methodological perspective, the model of homo economicus compares well to similarly unrealistic, “dismal” models of human nature in other disciplines that study religion. I develop these arguments by focusing on selective stories from Genesis, especially the stories of Jacob. Implications are derived regarding the application of economic methods and concepts for research on the texts of the Hebrew Bible.
ISSN: 0943-3058
eISSN: 1570-0682
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013. Deposited with reference to the publisher's archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

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