Max Weber was a German sociologist in the 19th century who is also regarded as one of the founders of modern sociology. He had so many feathers in his cap including knowledge in economics, politics, education, philosophy among others. He was a also a renowned journalist with quite a number of publications under his name including The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904), The City (1912), The Sociology of Religion (1922), General Economic History (1923) and The Theory of Social and Economic Organization (1925).
Max Weber was born in Germany in 21st April, 1864 to a political lawyer; Max Weber Sr. and Helene Fallenstein Weber. Max’s life was acutely influenced by the conflicts that arose in the family as a result of his father’s love for ‘earthly pleasures’ against his mother’s preferred ascetic lifestyle. Despite growing up bored with school, Weber individually devoured classic literature. He proceeded to study law, philosophy, history and economics at Heidelberg University after graduating from high school.
Weber spent one year in the military before resuming his studies in university in 1884. However, he now proceeded to the University of Berlin from where he passed the bar exam in 1886 and earned his Ph.D two years later. In 1893, Weber got married to his distant cousin; Marrianne Schnitger. His first job was teaching economics at Freiburg University in 1894. He later on went back to become a professor at Heidelberg in 1896.
After the death of Weber’s father’s death in 1897, he suffered a mental breakdown that would affect the rest of his life. His life was plagued by anxiety, insomnia and depression that greatly impaired his ability to teach. This subjected him to frequent visits to and from sanatoriums for the next five years. When he finally got reprieve in 1903, he got a job as an editor at a renowned social science journal. The following year, he received an invitation to deliver a lecture at the Congress of Arts and Sciences in St. Louis, Missouri.
During World War I, Weber volunteered in the medical service from where he went ahead to publish three more books on religion in a sociological setting. The three books were The Religion of China (1916), The Religion of India (1916) and The Religion of Judaism (1917-1918). It is after the third publication in 1918 that Weber resumed his teaching profession with the intention of publishing more volumes on Christianity and Islam. However, this dream would not be carried onto to the stage of realization.
Before Weber could embark on writing additional volumes as intended, he contracted Spanish flu and passed away on June 14th, 1920 in Munich. At the time of his death, he had not completed writing the manuscript of Economy and Society. However, it was later edited by his wife and published in 1922. Weber is remembered to have played a pivotal role in the drafting of the new constitution and founding of the German Democratic Party. Most of his writing has formed the basis of modern sociology with great influence on the realms of politics, sociology, economics and religion.
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