Confession and Bookkeeping The Religious Moral and Rhetorical Book

Confession and Bookkeeping The Religious Moral and Rhetorical Book
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    BookkeepingThe Religious, Moral, andRhetorical Roots ofModern AccountingJames AhoConfessionand

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    C O N F E S S I O NA N DB O O K K E E P I N G

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    C O N F E S S I O NA N DB O O K K E E P I N GThe Religious, Moral, and Rhetorical Roots of Modern AccountingJames AhoState University of New York Press

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    Published byState University of New York Press, Albany© 2005 State University of New YorkAll rights reservedPrinted in the United States of AmericaNo part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. No part of this book may be stored in aretrieval...

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    To my father-in-law, John W. McMahan

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    PrefaceixAcknowledgmentsxix1. The Problem12. Roman Catholic Penance133. The “Scrupulous Disease”234. Business Scruples315. Medieval Morality and Business436. The Notary-Bookkeeper557. The Rhetoric of Double-entry Bookkeeping638. Confession and Bookkeeping81Appendix95Notes99References107Index1...

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    In American business schools, accounting is treated primarilyas “accountingization” (Power and Laughlin, 1992), that is,as a body of technically refined calculations used by organi-zations to efficiently accomplish goals such as profit maxi-mization. What, if any, theory that is taught reduce...

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    A sea-change is now upsetting these academic traditions.Since the early 1990s in the rare and secret precincts where thehumanities meet management, European and Americanaccounting theorists have begun writing from a critical histori-cal perspective. Inspired in part by Michel Foucault’s idea of...

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    ingly; health and longevity are affected (Bertman, 1999). Whatthis implies is that far from being a morally and politically neu-tral enterprise, accounting by its very nature is political: notmerely a power tool deployed by elites to aggrandize them-selves, which is true enough; but a technology ...

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    that they can be actively chosen instead of passively suffered.Fourth, it does this by exhibiting that accounting schemes aresocially contrived, culturally relative, and historically contin-gent. To say it in another way, it conducts what Foucault (afterNietzsche) calls “genealogy”: showing t...

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    tal hygiene assessments, time-motion studies, and the manipu-lative practice of negotiated budgeting [Miller and O’Leary,1987]), DEB was itself complicit in the invention of a new“field of visibility”: the Christian merchant. While this is ataken-for-granted reality today, the very thought ...

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    out something else was deserved. Many terms can be used toenframe this sense of indebtedness: “finitude,” “limitedness,”“creatureliness,” “animality,” “death consciousness,” “lack,”“existential evil,” and “sin.” Since this last is the word that themedieval mind its...

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    1964: 231). In all of the major world religions, furthermore—Zoorastrianism (Pahlavi Texts, part I, 30.4–33), Judaism(Deut., 7.9–11), Islam (Qur’an, s. 17, v. 13), and Buddhism(Tibetan Book of the Dead, 75)—divine judges keep ledgers ontheir communicants. Following their deaths, the mor...

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    Today, of course, at least in business, references to moral-ity and religion in accounting are rare. Nonetheless, as therecent Enron-Fannie Mae-Tyko-MCI-Global Crossing-Lucent-Tenet Healthcare-WorldCom-RiteAid-Health South-ArthurAnderson-Bristol Myers Squibb-Halliburton scandals demon-strate, cor...

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    and toward the universe on the part of those who have enjoyedits benefice. It is to help undermine a doctrine that has been ele-vated into a virtual cant in our era, namely, that the highesthuman virtue is selfishness (Rand, 1961) or, as posed in subtlerterms, “the only social responsibility of...

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    The one person most responsible for this book being in print isKerry Jacobs, professor of accounting in the School of Businessat La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. I had long givenup on the project when out of the blue Professor Jacobs (thenat Edinburgh University in Scotland) e-mailed me...

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    copy of what is still one of the most readable and comprehen-sive social histories of accounting every written, that authoredby his major adviser, A. C. Littleton.I could have accomplished little academically were it notfor the generosity and indulgence of my often befuddled col-leagues at Idaho ...

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    The conditions giving rise to rational bureaucratic capitalism,or to what Max Weber calls “the most fateful force in modernlife” (Weber, 1958: 17), remain perennially interesting to socialhistorians. What follows is a sociology of one of its pivotal fea-tures, double-entry bookkeeping (DEB). ...

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    since tempered Weber’s argument, providing independent cor-roboration of Sombart’s claim (cf. McGovern, 1970), with fewexceptions their findings have yet to penetrate the reaches ofpopular sociology.1This book addresses a subject that to my knowledge, atleast, few if any sociologists have eve...

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    heart of the “capitalist spirit” (a term I discuss later) allegedlyfailed to flourish in the Catholic world. Sombart disagrees. Itwas precisely this sacrament, he submits, which nurtured anincipient capitalist spirit in Catholic lands; a spirit which, whenimplanted in the fertile soil of the ...

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    layman lived ethically, so to speak from hand to mouth,” in“the very human cycle of sin, repentance, atonement, release,followed by renewed sin” (117). In any case, whatever asceti-cism St. Ignatius, the monks of Cluny, the Cistercians, or theFranciscans practiced, it was not undertaken to ...

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    Weber claims that all of the essentials of Catholic sacra-mental life, including confession, “have been fixed since thetime of Gregory the Great” (reigned 590–604 CE) (Weber,1963: 188). We now know that this is incorrect. True, in hisacute awareness of the pastoral needs of penitents Gregor...

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    that Bernardino and Antonino both not only wrote long afterItalian capitalism was already flourishing; they were canon-ized and popularized much later than this. It would hardly belogical, then, to attribute causal influence to their teachingson the behavior of those who lived a century before th...

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    rentine and Venetian families (Sombart, 1967: 375–76, n. 141).The most famous of these was Leon Battista Alberti’s Del Gov-erno della Famiglia (1443), “a classic in its own time.” In itscelebration of thrift as holy, says Sombart, it anticipates Ben-jamin Franklin and Daniel DeFoe both in...

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    by calculation according to the methods of modern bookkeep-ing and the striking of balance” (Weber, 1950: 275; 1947,50–51; 1958, 21–22). Sombart concurs with this, saying that“one can not imagine what capitalism would be without dou-ble-entry bookkeeping: the two phenomena are connected a...

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    stances—for instance, algebra, the number naught, joint part-nerships, and money exchanges. By capitalist spirit he means aculturally specific way of being in the world; an emotional andcognitive habit of formal rationality, Zweckrationalitat,wherein different means to an end are weighed in ter...

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    This, because they reinforce the basis of his entire argumentthat within the Christian cosmos only Protestantism could havesired modern capitalism. To support his contention, Weber cites the “Dutch the-orist Simon Stevin” as the person who “first insistedupon . . . the device of the balance...

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    posted dually. Those in the Alberti books probably were; thoseof the Peruzzi’s, however, were not [Roover, 1958: 33–34].)The point, however, is not to decry Weber’s oversight or con-tradiction, whatever its source; it is to correct it. This is mygoal in the pages to follow. 11The Problem

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    HistoryVirtually from the moment of its founding, Christianity hasendorsed the practice of penance both for the debasement ofself and its purification. Not until 1215, however, under theauspices of Pope Innocent III and the Fourth Lateran Council,did a particular kind of penance, this involving t...

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    The handbooks used in the original Celtic confessionalbetray the influence of the so-called pillar saints and desertfathers of the ancient Syrian Church. The regimens of the latterin turn presumably are traceable to the influence of Hinduism(McNeill and Gamer, 1938: 3). (The period of Hindu cultu...

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    into ill-fame and had practically disappeared by the ninth cen-tury. This is because while its object had been to promotemoral discipline, its very rigors—which included a decade longexcommunication, complete abstinence, the donning of hairshirts and ashes, the forswearing of marriage, public o...

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    may be regrettable, if it is committed without consciousness ofits immorality, is done under duress, or is an accident, the peni-tent is counseled not to hold themselves blameworthy. Although intentionality was acknowledged in the Celticpenitentials, the theory behind it was not formulated untilm...

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    was permitted mercy in his sentencing on the basis of hisknowledge of the circumstances surrounding the candidate’ssins, including their state of mind. This is certain. But he wasnot encouraged to be so; in any case, he was not so obliged bylaw. This is a far cry from the immensely more psychol...

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    by fasting; if lust, then by abstinence; if envy, by restraint oftongue (Columban, 1938: secs. A-12 and B; cf. McNeill andGamer, 1938: 321–45). It is likely that the theory of Greek medicine was receivedby ancient Syrian monks through their work in hospitals. Oneaccount claims that it was subse...

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    10–11, 217–18) and prepackaged homilies citing legendaryauthorities, illustrated with moral anecdotes of local interest(Wenzel, 1976). There were moralized picture-stories of theseven major sins and their “whelps,” “retainers,” and “poiso-nous serpents” for use as mnemonic devices...

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    “diligently exact” in their self-examination, “search[ing] all thenooks and recesses of [their] conscience,” lest one mortal sinescape purview. (Some handbooks recommend that if the con-fessor appears unprepared in this regard, they should berefused absolution.) After rehearsing their cas...

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    There is, naturally, a good bit of controversy concerningthe frequency with which commoners actually availed them-selves of confession. Given the shortage of priests with legalauthority to absolve sins, and the notorious clerical practice ofextorting “voluntary gifts” from penitents—sizes n...

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    sacramental penance: the House of Contrition, the Castle ofConfession, and the House of Penitence (Robertson andHuppe, 1951). (In this and other pieces, including several ofShakespeare’s plays, rapacious priest-wolves are depicted aspreying on sly, but largely defenseless, fox-laymen.) This ite...

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    Moral ScrupulositySoon after confessional penance was made compulsory, reportsbegan to be sounded about a peculiar neurosis (as it would becalled today) exhibiting itself among the laity. By the end of thethirteenth century, the occasional reports had exploded into an“epidemic” (Delumeau, 199...

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    A number of Catholic pastoral psychologists account forscrupulosity by means of neo-Freudian concepts, arguing thatit is the consequence of an overactive superego, perhaps result-ing from “fixation” at the so-called Oedipal stage of psycho-sexual development. Implicit in this theory is the co...

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    deepest crevices of their own bodies, manifesting itself as blas-phemous, wicked thoughts and cravings. Each Christian wasnow positioned to experience themselves as “a demon clothedin flesh” (to quote a period metaphor), as “a devil incarnate,”or as a “sewer of iniquity,” whose “sin...

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    the introduction of confession to the West, seems to haveencouraged it. “We should,” he urged his fellows, “constantlysearch all the inner chambers of our hearts... with the closestinvestigations lest... some beast” furtively insinuate itself“into the secret recesses of the heart.” Ju...

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    always rendered assiduously and with unceasing zeal, alike ofthought, of the idle word, every hour, every moment. . . .Accordingly not even little matters of thought are to beneglected from confession, because it is written, ‘he whoneglects little things, falls little by little’” (Watkins, ...

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    confessional autobiographies of the medieval period: thoseauthored by Julian of Norwich (1343–1413?), for example,and Catherine of Siena (1347–1380). Confession and AccountingAs the personal account of their spiritual development was tothe medieval poet and mystic, the financial account was t...

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    easily be falsified (Raymond de Roover, 1943: 150).5 Accordingto Armando Sapori, “not a few of the surviving [medievalaccount] books... are so remarkable for beauty and aptness ofexpression, for acuteness of observation, and for their wealth ofinformation that they have been published for their...

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    Medieval Double-entry BookkeepingDouble-entry bookkeeping (DEB) first appeared in several Ital-ian cities simultaneously (Raymond de Roover, 1955; Florencede Roover, 1956; Chatfield, 1974: 13–16). Its first documenteduse is in the Massari accounts of Genoa (Melis, 1950: 527).(These may be antic...

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    years after its publication, Particularis de Computis et Scrip-turis still describes its basic procedures. It was modernity’sfirst calculative technology. To decipher the motives that might have occasioned theemergence of DEB, it is necessary at the outset to assess firsthow it was used. I will...

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    may be conveniently reviewed at once; and secondly and chiefly,to prove that the books have been kept with accuracy” (Yamey,1949: 110, my italics). Neither the bilancio del libro (the book balance) nor thesumma summarum (known today as the trial balance [Pera-gallo,1956]), which Pacioli extols ...

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    This is not to say that matters of profit/loss and capital areoverlooked in early bookkeeping texts. On the contrary, one ofthe advertised features of DEB from the beginning was that itenabled owners to get an overall view of their estate at a singleglance and to “reform their measures of livin...

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    Rechenhaftikeit (arithmetic reckoning), a quality so clearlyexemplified by DEB? Without getting into the convoluted history of Westernscience, a clue is provided by sociologist Benjamin Nelson inthe following homey adage: numbers don’t lie (Nelson, 1981:152–63). Although cynics might doubt it...

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    taste” (to quote one critic), is no where more evident than inthe cases of Pacioli, Leon Battista Alberti, and FrancescoDatini, three Tuscan luminaries. Each in their own way con-tributed to the idea, taken for granted today, that the entireuniverse—including the movements of planets, archite...

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    Like his mentor, Pacioli also lauds the virtues of wakeful-ness, sobriety, and industry. In Particularis de Computis etScripturis, he writes that the good manager is now here, nowthere; sometimes in the shop, sometimes at the market, and atstill other times with the owner at fairs, while the shop...

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    According to Iris Origo, Datini suffered from the maladypar excellence of the early modern burgher, angst: a sense thathis little world, built from personal labor, was perpetually onthe verge of catastrophe. Using Alphonsus of Liguori’s charac-terization of the condition (cited in chapter 3), w...

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    cian, all of whom worried about the dangers of self-inducedphysical debilitation. Surely, says Magherita, you must be wearyof tormenting yourself with your nightly watch (Origo, 1957:236–39). After collapsing from nervous exhaustion in 1395,Datini admitted as much: “I am not feeling very well...

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    above all vigilant record-keeping. To be sure, we are still somedistance from Weber’s full-blown inner-worldly ascetic whonot only labored like a monk, but abjured as well the “idola-tries” of fancy dress, erotic music, dance, rich foods, intoxi-cants, and theater (Weber, 1958: 168–75). T...

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    transact business by heart (Raymond and Lopez, 1955: 375).Carefully kept books could serve as a memory aid for interna-tional bankers moving credit in several currencies to scores ofclients; it could help resolve lawsuits between partners nonvi-olently; and it could lower the temptation to commit...

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    Elements of this literary corpus were authored by men likeDatini, who were compelled to keep their fingers ink-stained bydemons they could barely understand. Other, more insightful,observers (like, say, Cotrugli, Alberti, and Pacioli) wished inaddition to mimic the imagined lifestyle of the Roman...

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    Homo Mercator vix aut numquam potest Deo placereIn the medieval life-world, commerce was morally question-able. As this Latin aphorism by Gratian reads: “Seldom ornever can a man who is a merchant be pleasing to God.” Mer-cury (Gr.: Hermes), the deity whose name supplies the root forthe vocab...

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    mother of dissolution. For mercy is gratuitous gain; gainunearned and thus, strictly speaking, undeserved. If mercy isnot tempered then trust, the precondition of social order, isundermined.Commerce is consistently maligned in medieval moral the-ology.1 The Church never objects to truly earned ga...

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    damages either to the wronged party or to the Church in theirbehalf (Noonan Jr., 1957: 15; Denzinger, 1957: 149, sec. 365;Nelson, 1947). The scholastic proscriptions against usury had threesources: Deuternomic injunctions against charging interest onloans to fellow Jews (Deut., 15.7–10; Lev., 2...

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    bears no fruit and thus its use should have no price; or again,money should be used only to purchase things for consump-tion, not to earn more money; or still again, a loan is a trans-fer of ownership, thus no usage fee on it is permitted (51–70,73–79). Whatever the argument, any person who p...

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    Instead of citing Church authorities, however, he cites thepagan pundits Cicero, Seneca, Horace, and Juvenal. “Goodfortune is blind, and so may blind us in turn,” Latini argues.“The one who hastens to increase his wealth often loses hisvirtue,” and with it his reputation. For it is of the...

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    a comment on the legitimacy of Montes that the Franciscansfounded their own, at first charging nothing, then later, at theurging of St. Bernardino, insisting on a nominal fee. This fueleda dispute between themselves and the Dominicans, who pre-tended to be scandalized by the compromise.) Again, c...

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    ally assured of making anywhere from 8% to 30% profits ontheir “loans” (Raymond de Roover, 1963: 117–22). Thesewere duly entered into ledgers not as prohibited interest-earn-ings, but as permissible gains due to differences in money valuebetween countries, arising from variations in supply ...

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    courts on charges of usury or, if they were found guilty, of pro-viding lump-sum payments to ecclesiastical authorities in theirbehalf. Such devices, says Weber, “created an effect of mock-ery of Church law” (Weber, 1954: 253, 54, n. 114). Surely, heexaggerates. According to Benjamin Nelson, ...

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    renounced his father’s textile firm and became an itinerantmonk. On the contrary, countless otherwise perfectly ethicalyoung men, burdened with a sense of family obligation, reluc-tantly entered the world of commerce. Think of Giovanni Boc-caccio, Francesco Petrarch, Bracciolini Poggio, Giannoz...

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    papal bankers, issued a judgment that lenders may licitly makeprofits even when they neither labor nor risk their capital, mer-chants of the period were “jubilant,” according to John Noo-nan Jr. (1957: 208–9, 212–17). The family subsequentlyfinanced his visit to Bologna, the center of can...

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    because its customers failed to remit their loans (Lopez, 1979:13–18, 20–23). The Knights of the Templars, who had theirown banking business, met an even worse fate: Philip the Fair,their major debtor, dissolved the order in 1321 to maintain hisown solvency. He then confiscated its French ass...

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    tolerated them and to the Creator, quite apart from any finan-cial payoffs that might accrue to them for doing so. To comeclean on the matter of what was already considered a morallycompromising activity was insurance—all be it symbolic andillusory—against God’s wrath, to say nothing of ira...

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    During the late Middle Ages, two outwardly opposed tenden-cies flourished in the provinces of central Italy: world-rejectingFranciscan enthusiasm and international banking. This proba-bly is not a coincidence. By 1340 in Tuscany and Umbria alone, nearly one hun-dred major credit institutions were...

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    notary, Giovanni Scriba (John the Scribe) (Florence de Roover,1956: 86–90). These detail three partnerships between a seden-tary principal and a traveling agent. They attempt to calculatethe division of profits (characterized by Giovanni as “tremen-dous”) on a basis proportional to the part...

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    writing was always skeptical. Until around the secondcentury BCE, civil law recognized only contracts made by thedelivery of goods (the prices of which were fixed “by copperand scales”1), or those solemnized by ritual exchanges like this:Spondes? (Do you engage yourself?) Spondeo (I do engage...

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    responding to requests by bankers to streamline internationaltrade, Pope Alexander III issued a ruling granting writteninstruments validity in ecclesiastical courts in 1169. Subse-quent independent supporting judgments by various secularcourts confirmed this.One of the first consequences of these...

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    The offerings in artes dictandi met with such extraordi-nary success that they quickly spread to cathedral schoolsthroughout Europe, including Oxford University (ca. 1250).2The influence of Oxford’s alumni is traceable in the growinguniformity and intricacy of writs, conveyances, bonds, andmano...

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    in devising their contracts, provide only the barest outlines ofsingle-entry procedures (Littleton, 1933: 29–35). Even Cicero’sletters to Atticus (Cicero, 1953), which were also known tothem, and that detail how Roman financial records were used(and abused), contain no hint of DEB. In any cas...

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    In modern parlance, the noun “rhetoric” is often accom-panied by the pejorative qualifier “mere.” It stands for floriddiction, bombastic demagoguery, and misleading metaphors: inshort, of style without substance. It may therefore stretch thereader’s credulity to learn that an evidently ...

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    This involves the deployment of ornate words and figures ofspeech, and the presentation of the argument in an eye-pleasing,sonorous format (Cicero, 1949). Let us see how these three con-siderations bear on DEB, as seen through the eyes of those whofirst practiced and taught it.62Confession and Bo...

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    The object of this chapter is to show how the major stylisticfeatures of DEB (double-entry bookkeeping), as expoundedupon in Luca Pacioli’s Particularis de Computis et Scripturis,were modeled after the principles of Ciceronian rhetoric. Thisis not to suggest that the treatments of their respect...

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    on, the topoi (Gr.: places) or loci they visit. For Pacioli, theledger is the final argument that merchants present to the audi-tor; the journal and the memorandum (the daybook) are theplaces they go to “invent” their case. This being so, says Pacioli,the “transactions [recorded in them] ca...

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    quently mediated to medieval writers through Boethius’s dis-cussion of the circumstances considered essential in determin-ing the legal status of courtroom defendants (Leff, 1978). HowItalian public notaries received them cannot be determined forcertain, except to say that for both medieval Ita...

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    ExordiumThere is universal consensus among period rhetoricians that acomplete composition always must include an exordium, con-sisting of a brief introduction and a salutation. Indeed, fromthe amount of space devoted to it in textbooks, it appears thatthe exordium is the most important facet of a...

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    ity bestowed. And what else can I call it but “selling us,”when a man takes an [object] that is petty in its content andheightens it by his treatment so as to convince us that all isnew, all delightful.” (Alberic, vi.1, in Miller, 1973) Alberic cautions that too much of a good thing can bac...

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    and angels witness not only to the truth of the ledger entries,but more importantly, to the justice of the earnings accrued. Ill-gotten (usurious) gains, as noted in chapter 4, typically arerestituted back to victims or to charitable Church trusts set upfor them (Raymond and Lopez, 1955: 419–20...

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    another, if it suited his purpose. The same cannot be said ofPacioli. His insistence that business always be conducted in“the sweet name of Jesus,” has all the hallmarks of sincerity.For profit-seeking to avoid being mere avarice (theft), hebelieved that it must always be integrated into the ...

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    these criteria. The ledger postings are honed of extraneouswords and phrases, yet provide information on all seven of theconditions related to each transaction; every technical term andmark has a single, unambiguous meaning; the transactions areposted in chronological order; and painstaking effor...

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    on the subsequent page. Instead, he suggests that a line be drawnfrom the end of the last entry to the beginning of the next. Anygaps would cast doubt on the bookkeeper’s rectitude (85–86). It is worth saying again that Pacioli devised few, if any, ofthese operations. He merely reiterates wha...

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    bookkeeping practice of the day, particularly in Venice. Guildstatutes of the era already declared that mercantile records bekept in chronological order, and that they contain neitherblanks nor erasures. Tearing leaves from a journal was anoffense deserving of excommunication from the notary guil...

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    “for your ink, paper, rent, trouble, and time you get a just com-mission, which is always lawful” (Pacioli, 1963: 78). But to earnmore than this, by capitalizing on flukish changes in the demandand supply of currency, for example, particularly when no cur-rency actually changes hands (as in a...

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    equally satisfied; legal, wherein an individual gives restitutionto the community in proportion to the seriousness of his or hercrimes; and distributive, wherein shares of the commonwealthare allotted to citizens in ratio to their contributions to it. Theledger validates that the business in ques...

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    involved deals between flesh and blood people. In banking,where DEB was probably first used, these took the form ofloans and remittances, deposits and withdrawals. Understand-ably, then, they were recorded in personalistic, moral terms: “Xshall give (must give or ought to give) repayment becaus...

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    for safe keeping. I then say that the cash drawer owes me thatmoney, for which reason (just as if it were a human being) Imake it debtor, and Peter, of course, becomes creditorbecause he reduces his debt to me. (Geijsbeek, 1914: 15)5The Periodic SentenceThe distinguishing visual attribute of DEB ...

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    were reorganized. Authorities are able to trace the influence ofthe periodic sentence both in art criticism and in the “antithet-ical bias,” as one observer has called it, of Renaissance paint-ing and architecture (Baxandall, 1971). The compositions ofLeon Battista Alberti, Pacioli’s mentor...

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    By analogy, the same can be said of the “architecture” ofbookkeeping. The most enchanting ledger (and later, balancesheet) style would be that based on the discordant congruenciesof our own flesh, which is to say, something on the lines ofDEB. It was this, at least partly, which must have rec...

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    bookkeeping. Medieval bookkeepers were urged to follow thesame pattern again and again in posting accounts, to avoidhaving them questioned.In part because of these rhetorical attractions, DEBrapidly spread throughout the Christian world. No competingmethod could lay claim to making such a favorab...

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    During the reign of Pope Gregory VII (1073–1085) and con-tinuing into the middle of the thirteenth century, the RomanCatholic Church undertook a far-reaching program to remakethe world. Harold Berman considers it Europe’s first modernrevolution (Berman, 1983: 49–84), the model for all those...

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    asceticism,” as Lutz Kaelber calls them, modeled after the rig-ors of the desert fathers of the Middle East (Kaelber, 1998:62–99). Going by names such as Benedictines, Cistercians, andCluniacs, each monastic order provided a slightly differentpath to world renunciation. All of them, however, ...

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    evidence; and an elaborate theory was concocted to “legalizelife after death”: Purgatory (166–72). At the End of Time, so it was taught, all the living anddead would be judged. Prior to the Last Days, however, eachsoul would be brought before a separate tribunal immediatelyupon their death;...

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    shameful secrets entrusted to priests might be publiclydivulged, this too could be put to rest. By law any priest break-ing his vows of confidentiality was threatened with the loss ofoffice and of being “thrust into a strict monastery to do per-petual penance” (Denzinger, 1957: 174, sec. 438)...

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    Augustine. Then came the household ricordanzi that accom-plished an analogous purpose at a collective level. Composedfor the edification of the family’s future generations, theydidactically followed its moral (and material) progress frommythical origins through a series of epic challenges. Stil...

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    the same way that the so-called eighth sacrament of the Churchhad “Christianized” military violence a century earlier, turningknights from murderers into practitioners of “malicide” (thekilling of evil).1As originally conceived, DEB legitimized capitalist accu-mulation in at least four di...

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    visible for an entire population, as opposed to a small clois-tered elite, the reality of a sovereign, self-referential ego: me. Asit emancipated ego from the “collective miasma” of the “we,”confession disclosed ego to be sin-inclined and in dire need ofclerical policing. Now, instead of ...

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    phrase from Martin Heidegger) of “cost-effective utilization.”Each of us is at risk of becoming little more than “a cog in anever-moving [‘practically unshatterable’] mechanism” (Weber,1946: 224–30).Moral Accountability and Business AccountsI appreciate how, even after all these pag...

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    to be repeated, first at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215;then at the Council of Oxford in 1222; at the reformation ofthe status of the Black Order by Gregory IX in 1238, andfinally in Pope Benedict XII’s reforms of the Cistercian Orderin 1355. Their breach was labeled “proprietarism.” It...

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    Crucifixion is nowhere to be seen; the praise to God the Father,once found atop each folio, has disappeared; the dedication ofbooks to Our Mother Mary and to the saints has been forgot-ten; God’s Account has been closed permanently. In short, sincethe medieval era, accounting has evolved from b...

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    it beyond this detracts from humanity’s responsibility toattend exclusively to the only proper object of devotion: Godin his ethereal transcendence.In Calvinism worship was purged of worldly trappings:incense, vestments, golden altar pieces, bells, in some cases,songs. This was the intention. S...

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    he also added that it would be preferable were the practiceabolished altogether. For one can scarcely profit through inter-est-taking without harming one’s “brother.” In any case, itmust always be avoided in the case of loans to the destitute.Besides, Calvin notes with bitterness, the schol...

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    The sacrament of confession, then, may indeed have pro-duced conditions favorable to the introduction of modernaccounting (and with it, modern business administration):Werner Sombart is certainly correct on this point. But by dis-enchanting business altogether, Protestantism probably encour-aged ...

  • Page 115

    The meaning of piety is not, “I give so that I might have,”but “I have so that I might give,” and in so giving be redeemedfrom my guilt, my limitedness, my sins—however it might beenframed: my ontological lack. The man of avarice (in thewords of Pope Innocent III) in contrast, “like h...

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    Martin Luther and ScrupulositySometimes the most penetrating insights into the workings ofan institution come from those who have consciously disaffili-ated themselves from it. Take the case of Martin Luther(1483–1546) and the sacrament of confession. Luther did not use “scrupulous” to desc...

  • Page 117

    murder, indolence, or divorce: acts he happily judged the rightsins (die rechten Sunde) (Erikson, 1958: 144). His spiritualdirector felt moved to caution him against torturing himselfwith such trivia (Scheel, 1929: doc. 487, p. 176; cf. doc. 707, p.276; Erikson, 1958: 156). It is not certain what...

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    communal vices, weekly traditional confession was mandated.Here, Luther’s scrupulous predilections became fully andabsurdly realized.In confession... he [Luther] was so meticulous in the attemptto be truthful that he spelled out every intention as well asevery deed; he splintered relatively acc...

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    original meaning of the phrase poenitentiam agite as it appearsin the Vulgate Bible (Matt., 3.2f). Discovering it to be a Latintranslation of the Greek metanoia, “radical conversion,” hecame to the insight that authentic penance—freedom fromguilt—”only God can grant from Heaven” (Luth...

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    Preface1. As a document of how “rational capital accounting” hasbeen reconfigured by contemporary American sociologists into some-thing other than bookkeeping, consider the following definition ofthe phrase by Randall Collins. Weber’s concept, he writes, refers to“technology which is redu...

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    2. For a detailed, balanced analysis of Weber’s sociology ofmedieval Catholicism, which Kaelber admits to having been“unevenly developed,” see Kaelber (1998: 18–25, and Collins,46–55). A readable, fair overview of Weber on Catholicism is alsofound in Collins (1986: 47– 89). 3. Sombart...

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    Lay Folks’ Catechism (Simmons and Nolloth, 1901); Myrrour of Syn-neres and Speculum Peccatoris (Page, 1976); and The English Regis-ter of Godstow Nunnery (Clark, 1905).3. Unless otherwise specified, the following words and phrasesare taken directly from decreta issued at the Fourth Lateran Coun...

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    2. Given that for every debt created by the reception of a goodor service, there is a corresponding credit, Roover asks, “is it thensurprising that merchants would eventually hit upon a systemfounded on an equation between debits and credits?” (Florence deRoover, 1956: 115). Evidently there i...

  • Page 124

    6. In his prosecution of Governor Verres (73–70 BCE) for theftof state funds, Cicero sarcastically admits that “we have heard of aman’s never keeping accounts.” But “it is far from satisfactory”(Cicero, 1953: II, i. 23.60). Later in the trial, he holds up Verres’ssloppy records and ...

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    lar—by 1650 it had been reprinted in all European languages and stillsurvives today in 500 handwritten manuscripts (Lothario, 1969)—itwas authored by Innocent III while he was still a cardinal. It allowsus to understand why he was the perfect sponsor of legislation tomandate annual confession...

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    gives). Hugh Oldcastle in the first English bookkeeping text (1543)expresses the same idea this way: “All things receiued, or the receiuermust owe to all things deliuered, or to the deliuerer.”4. It is sometimes difficult for those untrained in bookkeeping tograsp how profit is possible if th...

  • Page 127

    Kaelber, 1998: 88–89, n. 64). However, it deals primarily with themoral teachings of lay preachers, notably the Franciscans. My argu-ment is not addressed to the teachings as such (but see chapter 5), butto the ideological functions of a specific technology, namely, DEB. 2. See the appendix. Ap...

  • Page 128

    Alberti, Leon Battista. 1971. Della Famiglia, translated and edited byGuido Guarino. Cranbury, New Jersey: Associated UniversityPresses.Alighieri, Dante. 1958. The Divine Comedy, translated by LawrenceWhite. New York: Pantheon Books.Alphonsus of Liguori, Saint. 1905. Moral Theology, translated by...

  • Page 129

    Bloomfield, Morton. 1955. “A Preliminary List of Incipits of LatinWorks on the Virtues and Vices, Mainly of the Thirteenth, Four-teenth and Fifteenth Centuries.” Traditio 11: 260–379.——— . 1952. The Seven Deadly Sins. East Lansing: Michigan StateUniversity Press.Boyle, Leonard. 1974. ...

  • Page 130

    Clark, Andrew, ed. 1905. The English Register of Godstow Nunnery.London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Tubner & Co.Cohen, Jere. 1980. “Rational Capitalism in Renaissance Italy.”American Journal of Sociology 85: 1340–55.Colignon, Richard and Mark Covaleski. 1991. “A Weberian Frame-work for the S...

  • Page 131

    Finnian. 1938. “The Penitential of Finnian.” In Medieval Handbooksof Penance, translated by John McNeill and Helena Gamer.New York: Columbia University Press.Foucault, Michel. 1978. The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, translatedby Robert Hurley. New York: Pantheon.——— . 1988. “Technolog...

  • Page 132

    Hopwood, Anthony. 1983. “On Trying to Study Accounting in theContexts in which It Operates.” Accounting, Organizations andSociety 8: 287–305.Hugo of Saint Victor. 1961. Didascalicon, translated by Jerome Tay-lor. New York: Columbia University Press.Ignatius of Loyola, Saint. 1964. “Notes ...

  • Page 133

    Kuhn, Thomas. 1970. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Lamond, Elizabeth, trans. 1890. Walter of Henley’s HusbandryTogether with an Anonymous Husbandry, Seneschaucie andRobert Grosseteste’s Rules. London: Longmans, Green & Co.Landucci, Lucca. 1927...

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    ——— . 1960b. “To John von Staupitz Wittenberg, May 30, 1515.”In Luther’s Works, vol. 48, edited by Helmut T. Lehmann.Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press.——— . 1960c. “The Sacrament of Penance, 1519.” In Luther’sWorks, vol. 35, edited by Helmut T. Lehmann. Philadelphia:Muhlenber...

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    ——— . 1934. “Historical Types of Method in the Cure of Souls.”Crozier Quarterly 10: 323–24.——— . 1932b. “Medicine for Sin as Prescribed in the Penitentials.Church History 1: 14–26.McNeill, John and Helena Gamer, trans. 1938. Medieval Handbooksof Penance. New York: Columbia U...

  • Page 136

    Murphy, James. 1967. “Cicero’s Rhetoric in the Middle Ages.” Quar-terly Journal of Speech 53: 334–41.——— . 1974. Rhetoric in the Middle Ages. Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press. Nelson, Benjamin. 1981. On the Roads to Modernity, edited by TobyHuff. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman &a...

  • Page 137

    Page, Cornelius, trans. 1976. The Myrrour of Synneres and SpeculumPeccatoris. Dobbs Ferry, New York: Mercy College.Patterson, Lee. 1978. “The ‘Parson’s Tale’ and the Quitting of theCanterbury Tales.” Traditio 34: 331–80.Pellicani, Luciano. 1989. “Reply to Guy Oakes.” Telos 81: 63...

  • Page 138

    Reik, Theodor. 1959. The Compulsion to Confess, translated byKatherine Jones. New York: Farrar, Straus & Cuddahy.Robertson, D. and Huppe Bernard, eds. 1951. Piers Plowman andScriptural Tradition. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton Univer-sity Press.Robertson Jr., D. W. 1946. “A Note on the Cl...

  • Page 139

    Simmons and Nolloth, eds. 1901. Lay Folks’ Catechism. London:Oxford University Press.Smith, Charles. 1951. Innocent III: Church Defender. Baton Rouge:Louisiana State University Press.Smith C. A. 1954, “Speculations on Roman Influence on the Theoryof Double-entry Bookkeeping.” Accounting Res...

  • Page 140

    Thompson, S. Harrison. 1940. The Writings of Robert Grosseteste.London: Cambridge University Press.Tigar, Michael and Levy. 1977. Law and the Rise of Capitalism. NewYork: Monthly Review Press.Troeltsch, Ernst. 1960. The Social Teachings of the ChristianChurches, vol. 1, translated by Olive Wyon. ...

  • Page 141

    Wenzel, S. 1976. “Vices, Virtues, and Popular Preaching,” no. 6 inMedieval and Renaissance Studies, edited by Dale Randall.Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press.Wilson, R. M., ed. 1954. The Ancren Riwle. London: Oxford Uni-versity Press.Winjum, James. 1970. “Accounting in Its Age of...

  • Page 142

    Abelard, Peter, 16Absolution, 42See also penance, sacramentofAcciauoli, Donato, 51accounting, 59alleged rationality of, 40–41as moral confession, 28–29,53–54capitalism and, 7–8in world religions, xiv–xvmetaphors, xv, 28, 85reality-construction through,x–xi, xiii, xvirecent development...

  • Page 143

    banking, medieval, 36, 47–48,48–49, 55, 75See also commerce, medieval;money markets, medieval;various banking familiesBaxter, rev. Richard, 6, 101n3(chap 3) Bede, Saint, 17Benedict XI (pope), 27Benedict XII (pope), 89Berman, Harold, 81, 84Bernardino of Siena, Saint, 5–6,48on usury, 46Bernar...

  • Page 144

    Celtic penance, 5, 83 See also penance, sacramentofCharles the Bold, 53Chaucer, Geoffrey, 21Christianity. See particularchurches, councils, denomina-tions, popes, religious orders,saintsCicero, 4, 7, 47, 78, 103n6 bookkeeping in, 42, 60Master of Eloquence, 60, 64rhetoric:argument invention, 61,63...

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    deadly sins. See sinDEB. See double-entry book-keepingDecretum (Gratian), 44Defoe, Daniel, xv, 7Delumeau, Jean, 24, 101n1(chap 3) depreciation, 102n3 Divina Proportione, De(Pacioli), 77Divine Comedy (Dante), 21, 43,46Dominican Order, 18, 48, 51,82Donatus, Saint, 26–27double-entry bookkeeping, x...

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    Foucault, Michel, x, xii, xix, 86Four Dialogues for Scholars(Petrarch), 76Fourth Lateran Council, 13, 22,84, 89, 101n3 (chap 2)Francis of Assisi, Saint, 46, 50,55, 79Franciscan Order, 4, 48, 82, 95vows of poverty in, 46, 55,69See also Antonino ofFlorence; Bernardino ofSiena; Francis of Assisi;Pac...

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    Julius II (pope), 69justice, 43–44, 85defined, 72ledgers and, 72–74, 104–5n3(chap 7)See also accounting equa-tionJustinian Code, 57, 59–60See also Roman lawJuvenal, 47Kaebler, Lutz, 81–82, 100n2(chap 1), 101n2 (chap 3)Kempe, Margery, 21, 28, 84Knights of the Templars, 53Langland, Willi...

  • Page 148

    Misery of the HumanCondition, On The (Lothariodei Segni [Innocent III]),103–4n3 (chap 5)modern consciousness, xiidouble-entry bookkeepingand, 87–88Moderne Kapitalismus, Der(Sombart), 9monastic orders. See specificordersmoney: nature of, 45–46money markets, medieval,48–49, 58moral bookkeep...

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    accounting as metaphor of,xv, 28, 85as model for Pacioli’s book-keeping instruction, 40, 65 assorted laws of, 83–84bookkeeping and xiv, 1Celtic roots of, 13–14, 82,100n1circumstances in, 17, 20, 64contrition in, 19–20European psyche and, 16, 22,86–87, 93frequency of participation in,21...

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    argument elements:narration, 65exhortation, 65–67conclusion, 65, 72invention, 63–64elocution, 74periodic sentence, 76repetition, 78See also Alberic of MonteCassino; CiceroRhetorica ad Herennium (pseu-do-Cicero), 60ricordanzi (records), 41, 50, 85Roman bookkeeping, 32, 42,47, 48, 76, 103n6doub...

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    diseases and, 15Luther and, 95–96, 97venial, 26–27See also penance; scrupulositysocietas maris (sea-going part-nership), 48, 59sociologyas accounting, xvicritical, x, xiignorance of bookkeeping in,ix, 2, 99n1of knowledge, 78See also specific sociologistsSombart, Werner, xiii, 34, 40confirmed,...

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    on Catholicism, 1–2, 3, 25,90, 100n2 (chap 1), 101n3(chap 3) on penance, 2–4on medieval business ethics,49–50Weber-Sombart controversy, 2–4Wesley, John, xvWinjum, James, 33, 34Wyclif, John, 3Yamey, Basil, 8, 32, 33Zoroastrianism, xvZweckrationalitat (utilitarian-ism), 9131Index

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