Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic And The Spirit Of Capitalism

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Firstly, the historiography of the subject will be examined. The initial idea that large shifts in attitudes towards the supernatural resulting from the Reformation were presented by Max Weber in his work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Weber argued that the Reformation was part of some great process, where Protestantism rejected sacramental magic and instead brought about a rationalisation and intellectualisation of the world where incorporeal forces no longer existed in everyday life. He termed this process as the “disenchantment of the world”, a phrase borrowed from Friedrich Schiller. Weber argued that the Reformation with its emphasis on individual vocation, and in particular the canon of predestination, created the ideal ideological state for a wide sweep in methodical rationalisation and thus creating the modernisation. Weber particularly argues this in the …show more content…
Robert Scribner is perhaps the most influential, and in his own right a catalyst, to the new challenges to the theory that the Reformation was the reason behind ‘the disenchantment of the world’. Scribner maintains that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the Reformation played a minor role in desacralisation and secularisation than former historians argued, referring to continuities between medieval and Protestant mindsets. In his work he found that rather than a whole rejection of the ‘economy of the sacred’, as previously thought by the likes of Thomas, the sacred was instead altered and incorporated into the Protestant belief system, producing a magic of its own. As Walsham writes, “it was also a telling sign of the loosening grip of a confessional and sectarian historiography of the Reformation – of the demise of framework of analysis underpinned by

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