chapter  12
14 Pages

Vergesellschaftung and Berufsmenschentum: Max Weber on Religion and Rationalism in the Middle Ages

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. In this chapter,

I advance two arguments: 1) 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; and 2) 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.