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Dialectics of Disenchantment: Devaluation of the Objective World—Revaluation of Subjective Religiosity11Translated by Dr. Brian McNeil, Munich.


Hans G. Kippenberg

Max Weber was interested in the fate of religion precisely in the modern period, but he did not apply the concept of secularization for this. It is ‘disenchantment’ that occupies the central position in Weber’s understanding of religious history. This paper addresses first the inherent connection between the section on religion in Max Weber’s Economy and Society (titled ‘Religious Communities’ or ‘Sociology of Religion’) and his studies of The Economic Ethic of the World Religions. Second, it turns to Weber’s concept of the process and consequences of disenchantment in these texts. Third, it traces the dialectics of disenchantment of religion in recent approaches to history, nature and society. There is a correspondence between progress in scientific knowledge and the bases of religion. Religions, divesting the world of magic and denying any inner-worldly salvation, change their own basis of existence. Religiosity takes on increasingly irrational relationships of meaning, such as ethical or mystical.


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