Historical Who is Who


1864 - 1920


Max Weber was a pioneer of the academic discipline of sociology, he drew on both direct personal experience (Elbe fieldwork) and an enormous range of historical sources (armchair reading). Drawing on both, he constructed ‘ideal types’ to identify and characterise organisations, patterns of authority, religions and variations within them. He engaged directly with Marxist argument that human development is conditioned by economic factors by insisting that interacting with these is the factor of belief and symbolic meaning commonly expressed in religions. This thesis is best known in his Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism but that is one part of the larger study of ancient Judaism and the religions of China and India.


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