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Article Index
The ‘Our Father’ of My Childhood
The Contexts of the Story
The Historical Context of the Our Father
My Historical Context
Blending Contexts in an On-going History
Companions on the Way
The Word ‘Debt/Indebted’ in the Our Father
Main Focus on Luke 11:4
Usual Interpretation of ‘Sin’ and ‘Debt’
Larger Than Sin
Indebtedness in Jesus’ Historical Setting
Where has the Jubilee Year Gone?
Rabbi Hillel’s Prosbul
The Significance of the Word ‘Debt’
The Jubilee Year in the Lk 4:16-30
More Than Sin-Orientation: The Kingdom of God
Breaking Fixed or Petrified Perspectives
Re-reading Lk 11:4 Through Jesus’ Eyes
Re-reading Lk 11:4 Through the Eyes of an Awakened, Poor Jew
Re-reading Lk 11:4 in the Larger Context of Luke’s Gospel
Lk 18: 18-27: a Commentary on Luke’s ‘Our Father’.
Social Justice in the Larger Context of Luke-Acts
Re-reading Lk 11:4 in the Context of Acts 2 and 4
Re-reading Luke 11:4 in My Context
The Need for an Alternative Spirituality
Before We Part Ways: Time to Recharge and Refresh
As We Part
All Pages

Rabbi Hillel’s Prosbul. Dt. 15:9 states that one’s refusal to lend because of the shemittah is a very serious offense. Still some if not most wealthy Jews in the time of Jesus were hesitant to lend because of the provision on cancellation of debts.

In the first century CE (Common Era) encompassing the time of Jesus’ public ministry, Rabbi Hillel instituted the prosbul which vetoed or circumvented the Jubilee Year’s provision on cancellation of debts. The prosbul was a kind of stipulation or contract in which the borrower did not raise the shemittah as defense for non-payment of loans. The prosbul’s formulation was stated as: “I declare before you, so-and-so, judges of that place, that touching any debt that I may have outstanding, I shall collect it whenever I desire” or “I, _____________, hand to you, the judges of _____________, (a declaration), to the effect that I may claim any debt due to time at whatever time I please”.

Hillel therefore violated the Torah and removed the common people’s protection from social injustice. Hillel did so in view of encouraging loans while protecting the interest of the lender.


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