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Max Weber in America$
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Lawrence A. Scaff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147796

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147796.001.0001

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The Creation of the Sacred Text

The Creation of the Sacred Text

(p.211) Twelve The Creation of the Sacred Text
Max Weber in America

Lawrence A. Scaff

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the politics and sociology underlying the translation of Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism (PESC). Published in 1930 with Talcott Parsons as the translator, PESC was described as sociology's “most famous” work. The story of the first translation and publication of PESC is a complicated episode as far as Weber translations are concerned. The chapter first traces the origins of Parsons's effort to translate Weber's work to the time he was a student at the University of Heidelberg in the 1920s before discussing the questions raised for the translation, including publication rights. It shows that Parsons's reading captured accurately the overarching terminology of rationalism, rationality, and rationalization that was central to Weber's account of asceticism and the capitalist “spirit.”

Keywords:   capitalism, Max Weber, Talcott Parsons, sociology, translation, publication, University of Heidelberg, rationalization, asceticism

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