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5“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?”

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5. Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred denarii? A pound of ordinary ointment, Pliny tells us, cost not more than ten denarii; but the same Pliny says, that the highest price of the best ointment was three hundred and ten denarii. Now the Evangelists agree, that this was the most costly ointment, and Therefore Judas is correct in valuing a pound of it at three hundred denarii, — a sum which, according to the computation of Budaeus, amounts to fifty livres of French money. And as almost every kind of luxury involves excess and superfluity, the greater the waste of money, the more plausible reason had Judas for murmuring; as if he had said, “Had Mary spent little, there would have been some excuse for her; but now, since, in a matter of no importance, she has wasted a vast sum of money, has she not done an injury to the poor, who might have obtained from such a sum great relief? What she has done, therefore, admits of no apology.”