Ivan Zabaev 1
  • 1 St.Tikhon's Orthodox University, 23-5A Novokuznetskaya St, Moscow, 115184, Russian Federation

Religion and Economics: Can We Still Rely on Max Weber?

2018, vol. 17, No. 3, pp. 107–148 [issue contents]
The article, within the framework of the logic proposed by M. Weber in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, attempts to identify the core ethical category of the Russian Orthodox Church that could function in the same way as Beruf (profession/vocation) does for the analysis of Protestantism and its potential impact on the formation of the economy. The attempt to apprehend this category relies on Weber’s works that analyze the economic ethics of world religions. In particular, an effort is made to interpret the Weberian categorization of Russian Orthodoxy as a “specific mysticism”. The texts of F. Nietzsche and M. Scheler are used to decipher Weber’s thesis. The analysis of the texts of Weber, Nietzsche, and Scheler leads to the assumption that “humility” could be the category in question. In his works on the sociology of religion, Weber used “humility” to describe “mysticism” in the same vein as is “vocation” for “asceticism”. At the same time, Weber reinterprets Nietzsche’s doctrine of ressentiment to construct the typology of economic ethics of world religions. For Nietzsche, humility is often synonymous to ressentiment. In the Weberian interpretation, the thesis on ressentiment becomes a “theodicy of suffering”. In the typology of suffering, humility was associated with contemplation, or the withdrawal from the world, that is, with everything specific for mysticism as it was understood by Weber. M. Scheler also took notice of this and criticized the thesis on ressentiment, contrasting it with humility as the basic Christian virtue. An analysis of the texts of F. Nietzsche, M. Weber and M. Scheler on the ressentiment and ethics of Christianity made it possible to propose a typology of ethics that seems to be suitable for constructing hypotheses about the (potential) influence of Orthodoxy on Russian economic life.
Citation: Zabaev I. (2018) Religiya i ekonomika: mozhem li my vse eshche opirat'sya na Maksa Vebera? [Religion and Economics: Can We Still Rely on Max Weber?]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 17, no 3, pp. 107-148 (in Russian)
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