Adorno’s Paradox Weber’s Constructionism: Scrutinizing Theory and Method
Max Weber's views on religion and rationalism in the Middle Ages have often been misunderstood, mischaracterized, and misappropriated, in part because scholars have not sufficiently appreciated some of Weber's earliest writings and in part because they have misconstrued Weber's actual positions. Weber addressed both medieval rationalism and medieval religion very early in his work, and his earliest academic writing included a historically situated analysis of the interplay of religious ideas, legal norms, and economic behavior to address pre-modern processes of Vergesellschaftung, or people entering into associative relationships. Weber's sociology of religion after 1900 includes a sociology of medieval religion and rationalism, mostly focusing on monastic asceticism and contrasting it to the conduct of the modern professional dedicated to his vocation: the Berufsmensch. Christian monasticism's asceticism was thus still much more otherworldly than worldly and rationalized conduct in a different direction than ascetic Protestantism.