more on Weber

Derek Slater’s post on the Weber Thesis was enlightening , not least because I haven’t read Weber, and it is, as promised, a succinct recap of an element of Weber’s main idea. I followed Derek’s link to Wikipedia on the Weber thesis, which was useful for expanding on the Thesis and its interpretations, and also for noting that Weber, writing at the beginning of the 20th century, thought that the catalyst of Calvinism had long since been forgotten. No longer did people feel called to serve in two kingdoms, heaven and earth. For the most part, if they were capitalists, they just served themselves here on Earth. It would be hard to see Weber arguing otherwise, given the terrible social unrest of Europe in the latter half of the 19th century, starting with the revolutions of 1848, the development of ‘Dickensian’ as a noun and the rise of Marxism and its mantra of social oppression.
I looked up Duncan Forrester’s essay on Luther and Calvin in the History of Political Philosophy (unlike Weber, Forrester put the two great Reformers together as twin catalysts of both religious reformation and political). the notion that there was a call in vocation). Forrester talked little about economics, but note his discussion of the concept of the two Kingdoms, which he notes Calvin and Luther would not have seen as separated into ‘church’ and ‘state’ but would have had blurry lines at best. Still, many others since then have interpreted the two kingdoms as being distinct.

Forrester’s essay also discusses Luther and his notion of the ‘hero’ who operated outside the system and improved it. That, at least, seems to be a model for many of today’s business, political and cultural figures, people who all too often think of themselves as heros, though their behavior improves nothing.

3 thoughts on “more on Weber

  1. Hi Derek,

    I have some issues with posting links in WordPress, whether I use Firefox or Safari. I have to code by hand. Usually they work. But I notice this one doesn’t, and there may be others, as well. I’ll try to fix them.

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