chapter  5
52 Pages

The Significance of the Jewish Religion in Economic Life

ByWerner Sombart

This chapter describes three reasons to the consideration of the religion of the Jewish people and the demonstration of its enormous influence on Jewish economic activities. First, the Jewish religion can be fully appreciated in all its bearings from the economic standpoint only when it is studied in detail and by itself. Secondly, it calls for a special method of treatment. And thirdly, it occupies a position midway between the objective and the subjective factors of Jewish development. If religion is at all to be accounted a factor in Jewish economic life, then certainly the rationalization of conduct is its best expression. The nature of the Jewish religion and more especially the construction of the Talmud, which is characterized by its lack of order, is inconsistent with the formulation of any dogmatic system. One of the causes to which the Jew owed his economic progress was the fact that Israel was for generations a stranger and an alien.