Confession and Bookkeeping: The Religious, Moral, and Rhetorical Roots of Modern Accounting
Double-entry bookkeeping (DEB), modern capitalism’s first and foremost calculative technology, was “invented” during the Middle Ages when profit making was morally stigmatized. James Aho examines the problematic of moneymaking and offers an explanatory understanding of the paradoxical coupling of profit seeking and morality by situating DEB in the religious circumstances from which it emerged, specifically the newly instituted sacrament of penance, that is, confession.
Confession impacted the consciences of medieval businessmen both through its sacramental form and through its moral teachings. The form of confession produced widespread habits of moral scrupulosity (leading to compulsive record keeping); the content of confession taught that commerce itself was morally suspect. Scrupulous businessmen were thus driven to justify their affairs to church, commune, and themselves. With the aid of DEB, moneymaking was “Christianized” and Christianity was made more amenable to the pursuit of wealth. Although DEB is typically viewed exclusively as a scientifically neutral account of the flow of money through a firm, it remains as it was originally devised, a rhetorical argument.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
Confession and Bookkeeping: The Religious, Moral, and Rhetorical Roots of ...
Limited preview - 2006
accounting Alberic Alberti ancient artes dictandi Basil Yamey Brunetto Latini business records calculative Calvin Calvinist canonical penance capital capitalist spirit Cash CC lire Celtic century chapter Christian Church law Cicero claims commerce Computis confession confessional conscience creditors CUtD Datini daybook debit Delumeau Denzinger double-entry bookkeeping Erikson ethical Florence de Roover Florentine Fourth Lateran Council Francesco Francesco Datini Francesco Petrarch Franciscan give intentionally left blank Italian journal Kaelber late medieval later ledger postings lire Cr Littleton loans Luca Pacioli Luther Margery Kempe Max Weber McNeill medieval merchants modern bookkeeping monk moral Nelson Noonan Jr notaries one's Origo penitent penitential handbooks periodic sentence Pope practice priest profit rational Raymond and Lopez Raymond de Roover religious rhetoric Roman Law scrupulosity sins social sociology soul spiritual Stevin Tentler things tion usury virtue Weber and Sombart Werner Sombart Winjum words writing Yamey