Friday, 6 October 2017

New testament money (part 1)

I find it really helpful, when reading (or teaching) passages that involve sums of money, to translate them into modern money. After all, what does 'silver coin' or 'talent' or 'copper coin' actually mean to the average 21st century person? Was it a lot? A little? How much? How little?

So here's how I do it. It's not foolproof, but it's helpful


(aka silver coin/drachma*)
1 Denarius = a days's wage for a worker.
So take this to be minimum wage.

In the UK the minimum wage is currently £7.50 per hour.
Assuming an average 8 hour workday, that's £60 a day.

So 1 denarius = £60.



A talent was 100 denarii.
That's £60 x 100

So 1 talent = £6,000



(aka copper coin*)

This was the smallest coin at the time.
192 in a denarius (what a weird number!)


So 1 mite = 31p

Of course, different things had different value in those days - clothes were incredibly expensive; rent was cheap. Some food was dearer than for us; I think some was cheaper. Still, it's a help.

Come back for part 2 of this enthralling story tomorrow...

*Same thing, different translations

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