chapter  1
Introduction
ByPaul Oslington
Pages 3

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of the book. This book contributes to the interdisciplinary dialogue between economics and theology by telling the story of the role of theology in the formation of political economy as a discipline in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the separation of ethics and theology from economics later in the 19th century. It begins with a brief discussion of natural theology and the problem of theodicy that is intimately connected with natural theology. Economics matters particularly in Australia with our heritage of utilitarianism and prosperity. The church needs to engage more deeply with economic ways of thinking to connect with ordinary Australians and to have an influence for good on our public culture. A renewed theological engagement with economics also matters particularly in African and Asian societies, where Christianity is vibrant and economic change rapid.