Human Studies

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 565–602 | Cite as

Calvinist Predestination and the Spirit of Capitalism: The Religious Argument of the Weber Thesis Reexamined

  • Milan ZafirovskiEmail author
Theoretical / Philosophical Paper


The paper reconsiders the Weber Thesis of a linkage between Calvinism and capitalism. It first restates this sociological Thesis in terms of the Calvinist doctrine of predestination as its theological core and premise in virtue of being treated as the crucial religious factor of the spirit of modern capitalism. Consequently, it proposes that the Weber Thesis’ validity and consistency depends on that doctrine, succeeding or failing as a sociological theory with the latter depending on whether or not it is unique in theological terms, as well as economic-social consequences. For that purpose, it reexamines and compares the Calvinist doctrine of predestination with the pre-Calvinist versions and infers that it is basically identical to or compatible with these. It then draws the implications for the Weber Thesis in respect of the degree of its validity or consistence. It concludes that the Weber Thesis likely is fail as a sociological-economic theory with the Calvinist doctrine of predestination to the extent that the latter is its theological ground and revealed not to be unique and new theologically and probably in terms of its societal effects.


Asceticism Calvinism Capitalism Predestination Election Weber’s Thesis 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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