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The Promise and Peril of CreditWhat a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells Us about the Making of European Commercial Society$
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Francesca Trivellato

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691178592

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691178592.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

A Legacy that Runs Deep

A Legacy that Runs Deep

Chapter:
(p.197) 8 A Legacy that Runs Deep
Source:
The Promise and Peril of Credit
Author(s):

Francesca Trivellato

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691178592.003.0009

This chapter focuses on three giants of modern social thought: Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Werner Sombart. In their efforts to define what constituted modern capitalism and how it came into being, each proposed a different role for Jews. Although only Sombart transformed Jews into key actors in the genesis of Western capitalism, all three thinkers appealed to Jews to define how modern capitalism differed from earlier forms of commercialization. As part of this quest, Sombart proposed yet another version of the legend of the Jewish invention of bills of exchange, which figured front and center in his Die Juden und das Wirtschaftsleben (The Jews and Economic Life), a text that most economic historians justly dismiss but that has exerted an enormous, troubling, and—as of late—contradictory influence on the field of Jewish history.

Keywords:   modern social thought, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Werner Sombart, modern capitalism, Jews, Western capitalism, commercialization, bills of exchange, Jewish history

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