chapter  XXXIV
4 Pages

Money as Social Nexus

The first part of my General History of Social Thought, pub­ lished in 1920, had meanwhile gone through a second edition, and the publisher was urging upon me to continue the work. The second part was to deal with the social currents in the Middle Ages-the communist ideas in Primitive Christianity, in the Fathers of the Church, in jus naturale, Gnosticism and Manichaeism, and the underlying ideas and sentiments of the Coenobitic settlements and the heretic social move­ ments from the eleventh century to the age of the Refor­ mation. It was hard and prolonged research work, for, while there are many monographic studies on various phases of the subject, nothing systematic or embracing the whole period was extant. My mediaevalism in the years of my youth, and my reminiscences of the Jewish mystics, helped me to over­ come many a difficulty in the year 1921-22. But what a difference! At that time economics had been to me a profane and inane matter; now it was the basis of my studies. I visualized the Middle Ages as the period of the gradual tran­ sition from Communist ideas to the rise and justification of private property in Christian Europe. This generalization had to be worked out, showing the Schoolmen and the Doctors of the Church as doctrinal pioneers of that transition in con­ formity with the gradual unfolding of an urban economy.