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date: 20 October 2021

(p. xviii) (p. xix) Chronology of Max Weber’s Life

(p. xviii) (p. xix) Chronology of Max Weber’s Life

(all German titles are translated into English)



Important Events in Weber’s Life


Erfurt, Prussia

April 21: Max born, the first child of Max Weber Sr. and Helene Weber (née Fallenstein).

He is the eldest of seven siblings, the youngest of whom, Lili, is two years old.

Weber Sr. was a paid advisor to the city council and was involved in the defense of the town during the Austro–Prussian war.

Helene Weber was brought up in Heidelberg in a large villa (the Fallenstein villa that today is the Max-Weber-Haus) across the river Neckar with direct views of the castle.

Georg Fallenstein, Helene’s father, built the villa in 1847, and under his leadership it became a center of liberal-democratic nationalism and anti-Prussian politics.


Charlottenburg, Berlin, Prussia

The Weber family, including Alfred Weber born in 1868, moves to Berlin.

Max Weber Sr. is appointed as municipal official and later elected as a National Liberal delegate for the Prussian Lower House and the German Reichstag.


Heidelberg, Baden

April: Max Weber matriculates from Charlottenburg Royal Empress-Augusta-Gymnasium and begins studies in Roman and German legal history, history of philosophy, and history at the University of Heidelberg.

November: Joins a dueling fraternity, the Allemannia (and resigns in October 1918).


Strasbourg, Alsace

Year-long military training in Alsace.

Alsace was placed under direct Prussian military rule following the Franco–Prussian war of 1870.

Attends Hermann Baumgarten’s (his uncle) seminar at the German University of Strasbourg on Italian political writers of the Reformation.



Studies international and German law.


Göttingen, Prussia


Verona and Venice

Studies canon law and public, practical, and administrative law.

March and April: military exercises as reserve officer.

August–September: Travels to Italy with his father.

(p. xx) 1886

Celle, Lower Saxony


May: Sits for first state exams in law.

Weber moves back into parental home in Charlottenburg and works as trainee lawyer (until 1890).

Attends Levin Goldschmidt’s seminar on commercial law.



Gives seminar paper “Commercial Partnerships According to Medieval Italian and Spanish documents.”


Posen, Duchy of Posen, Germany

Gnesen, Duchy of Posen

July–September: Officer training and military exercises.

August: Visits the Prussian Settlement Commission with the district administrator.



October: Awarded doctorate magna cum laude with dissertation on medieval trading companies. Weber is commended by leading classical historian Theodor Mommsen in oral public examination.

Starts his postdoctoral research into Roman land patterns and tenure, working with the agrarian historian August Meitzen.



Weber attends the first Evangelical-Social Congress together with his mother Helene, who supports this new initiative for Christian social action started by socially concerned Protestant pastors.

October: Passes main state law examination and is qualified to work as a lawyer.



October: Publishes his postdoctoral thesis, Roman Agrarian History and Its Significance for Public and State Law.



February: Awarded right to lecture (Venia legendi) in commercial and Roman law.

February–March: Weber starts work on assignment from Association of Social Policy (Verein für Sozialpolitik) to analyze the survey results on the social and economic position of farmworkers east of the Elbe. The 600-page work is published in December.

May: Weber meets Friedrich Naumann at the Third Evangelical-Social Congress. Naumann emerges as a political figure as the “poor people’s pastor.” They share ideas about Germany becoming a democratic power state.




Oerlinghausen, Lippe


March: Weber presents the overall results of the regional surveys of employers into the condition of farmworkers to the general assembly of the Association of Social Policy. He is co-opted into its governing committee.

May: Weber becomes officially engaged to Marianne Schnitger.

September: Max and Marianne marry in Oerlinghausen, where Marianne’s grandfather, Carl David Weber, owns and manages a linen business on modern factory lines.

November: Weber is appointed associate professor in commercial and Roman law at Friedrich-Wilhelms-University.

(p. xxi) 1894

Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden

Frankfurt am Main

April: Weber is appointed full professor in economics and finance at the University of Freiburg.

May: At the Fifth Evangelical-Social Congress, with Paul Göhre, Weber presents results of questionnaire sent out to a national sample of pastors on the condition of farmworkers.

June and September: Publishes “Developmental Tendencies in the Situation of East Elbian Farm Workers.”

November: Weber publishes “The Börse. The Purpose and Organization of the Börse” in the Göttingen Workers Library, edited by Friedrich Naumann.

November–December: “Results of the Inquiry into the German Börse” published in Journal for General Commercial Law


Freiburg i. B.

London, England

May: Weber gives inaugural lecture, “The National State and Economic Policy.”

August–October: Travels in British Isles.


Freiburg i. B.


Weber gives public lecture, “The Social Reasons for the Fall of Classical Civilization,” which is published in The Truth.

Gives public lectures across Germany on rural policy and proposals to change law on land inheritance, which would favor German small farmers.

November: Becomes member of government inquiry into the stock and commodity exchanges.

Winter: Joins the Pan-German League (resigns in 1899).





Guernica, Basque Country, Spain

January: Appointed professor of economics and finance at the University of Heidelberg. Co-director with Georg Jellinek of the sciences of state seminar and establishes a new seminar and library in economics within the philosophy faculty.

“The Agrarian Organization of Antiquity” published in the Handbook of Sciences of the State.

August: Funeral of Max Weber Sr. He died unreconciled with Max Weber (who had challenged the extent of his patriarchal power over Helene Weber).

August–September: Vacation and travels in southern France and Spain.



The theologian Ernst Troeltsch, the philosopher Paul Hensel, the art historian Carl Neumann, and the jurist Georg Jellinek become close Heidelberg colleagues.

March: Weber consults the psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin for nervous exhaustion and is diagnosed as suffering from “neurasthenia.”

July: Treatment for exhaustion, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction at clinic on Lake Constance.



Starts book series The Farm Worker in the Protestant Regions of North Germany

Released from lecturing in summer semester due to depression and neurotic symptoms.

(p. xxii) Eibsee, Bavaria

August: Travels to spa near Garmisch-Partenkirchen with Marianne.



Urach, Württemberg


January: Given leave of absence by Baden Department of Education.

July: Four and half–month stay in clinic in Schwaben Alps. Unable to write simple letters.

Travels to Ajaccio for winter with Marianne and cousin Otto Benecke.




April: Travels in southern Italy with Marianne for a month. Returns to Rome until beginning of July.

July–September: Marianne and Max stay in Switzerland, returning to Rome for autumn and winter. Helene Weber and Friedrich Naumann visit. Begins a return to reading academic books.



April: Returns to Heidelberg and moves into new flat in Hauptstrasse.

June: Announces lecture course for winter semester but further inability to work and lecture.

December: Travels alone to Nervi near Genoa, returning to Heidelberg mid-January.



Scheveningen, Holland

Ostend, Belgium



March: Travels to Rome for six weeks.

June: Convalesces on North Sea coast with trips to Amsterdam and the Hague.

August: Convalescent trip.

September: Attends the conference of the Association of Social Policy.

October: Weber’s resignation as professor is accepted by the Baden Ministry of Education on the grounds of continuing health problems. Weber is given title of honorary professor in the faculty.

October: Publishes essay “Roscher’s ‘Historical Method.’ ”



New York,


January: Weber becomes member of Eranos Society.

April: First issue of the Archive for Social Science and Social Policy (hereafter Archive). The three editors, Edgar Jaffé, Werner Sombart, and Max Weber, write a joint statement of the journal’s approach. The first issue also carries Weber’s article, “The ‘Objectivity’ of Knowledge in Social Science and Social Policy.”

September: Weber publishes his last article on rural farm policy: “Agrarian-Statistical and Social-Political Considerations of the Prussian Commission on Entailed Estates.”

30 August: Max and Marianne arrive by steamship in New York and stay five days. Journey onward to Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and North Tonawanda.

September: Max and Marianne spend a week in Chicago visiting the stockyards, Hull House, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University.

(p. xxiii)

St. Louis,



Mount Airy,


New York


Mid-September: Weber is member of the German delegation to Congress of Arts and Science and gives lecture on the effect of capitalism on agricultural development in Europe and America. Meets and corresponds with W. E. B. Du Bois.

End of September: Max visits Oklahoma and Indian Territories and travels on to New Orleans and Tuskegee.

October: Max and Marianne stay with relatives (Millers) in Knoxville and Mount Airy. Continue on to Washington, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.

End of October–early November: Harvard University library. Meets William James.

November: Columbia University library.

19 November departure.

November: Publishes Part One of “The Protestant Ethic and the ‘Spirit’ of Capitalism” in the Archive.




Weber starts learning Russian to follow the Russian Revolution in the newspapers.

June: Part Two of “Protestant Ethic” published in Archive.

November: Second essay on “Roscher and Knies and the Logical Problems of Historical Economics.”

September: Attends Association of Social Policy, which debates “The Situation of Workers in the Private Giant Industries.”



Palermo, Sicily

January: Publishes third and final essay on Roscher and Knies.

February: “Critical Studies in the Logic of the Cultural Studies” published in the Archive.

February: “The Situation of Constitutional Democracy in Russia” published in the Archive (also translated into Russian).

April: Articles on churches and sects in North America published in Frankfurter Zeitung and The Christian World.

August: Publishes “Russia’s Transition to Pseudo-democracy” in the Archive.

October–November: Convalescent stay together with Marianne and Helene Weber in Sicily and Capri, Italy.



Lake Como, Italy



February: Publishes “Stammler’s ‘Overcoming’ of the Materialist Conception of History” in the Archive.

March: Convalesces in Italian lakes accompanied by Marianne. Weber is prescribed opiate-derived drugs for continuing insomnia and depression. Weber uses long vacations to detoxify from drug regimen.

July: First of four replies, published in the Archive, to the critical reviews of the Protestant Ethic written by the teacher Karl H. Fischer and the historian Felix Rachfahl. Last reply appeared in September 1910.

July: Marianne and Max Weber attend the funeral of Carl David Weber in Oerlinghausen. Marianne inherits a seventh share of the family linen business.

(p. xxiv) Heidelberg

September: Weber pens long rejection letter of article submitted via Dr. Else Jaffé to the Archive. The article was written by Dr. Otto Gross, a proponent of libertarian psychoanalysis and anarchism.


French and Italian Riviera

Jena, Thuringia, Germany



March and April: Convalescent trip.

September: Weber participates in the Second Conference of German University Lecturers. Weber argues against political and religious discrimination in academic careers and for lecturers to adhere to the standards of academic knowledge.

September–October: Weber investigates the organization and attitudes of the workforce in linen industry. This research is published in four parts in the Archive over 1908–1909 as “The Psychophysics of Industrial Labor.”

November: Weber attends a political meeting of the National Liberals. He argues for replacement of German imperial dynastic rule by parliamentary government on English and Belgian lines.

December: Co-founder of the German Society for Sociology. Weber is treasurer until January 1911, and he resigns from society in January 1914.



Lake Maggiore, Italy


January: Weber, after hesitation, finally signs with the publisher Paul Siebeck to become the lead editor in a completely new edition of Schoenberg’s Handbook of Political Economy, which is renamed Basic Outline of Social Economics. The handbook was published in nine volumes from 1914 to 1930 with some forty authors. Weber’s own contribution to the handbook was Economy and Society, which appeared posthumously in 1921–1922.

April: Convalescent trip.

June: Weber becomes associate member of the Heidelberg Academy of the Sciences.

June: Weber criticizes the natural philosophy of the chemist Wilhelm Ostwald in the Archive.

Vienna, Austro-Hungary

Venice, Italy


September: Attends Association of Social Policy conference, speaks in debates on enterprises and productivity, and mounts an attack with his brother Alfred on the bureaucratic serfdom of state socialism.

October: Short trip with Marianne Weber and Edgar and Else Jaffé.

October: Weber participates in the Third Conference of German University Lecturers and argues for open selection criteria for appointment of lecturers.

(p. xxv) 1910



Frankfurt am Main Heidelberg

April: Max and Marianne move to the Fallenstein villa on the north bank of the Neckar. They hold their jour fixe on Sunday afternoons, where Karl Jaspers, Georg Lukács, Ernst Bloch, Friedrich Gundolf, and other luminaries attend.

August–September: Convalescent trip.

October: First German Society for Sociology conference. Weber outlines research project on the press.

December: Weber takes out defamation action against the lecturer Arnold Ruge. Multiple court cases were held over 1911 and 1912; Weber finally won his case, and Dr Ruge was removed from the university. Weber, however, was forced to withdraw from the press research project.


Dresden, Saxony, Germany

October: Weber participates in the Fourth Conference for German University Lecturers. In debate Weber controversially attacks the malign influence of the Ministerial Director at the Prussian Ministry of Education, Friedrich Althoff.


Bayreuth and Munich, Bavaria


August: The Webers attend Wagner concerts accompanied by the musician Mina Tobler. Later that autumn Weber starts his study on the sociology of music, which was posthumously published in 1921.

October: Weber participates in the Second Conference of the German Society for Sociology. The conference debates the sociology of nationality.


Ascona, Tessin, Switzerland


March–April: Recuperation trip to fishing village on Lake Maggiore. Weber acts as legal advisor to Frieda Gross and her companion Ernst Frick, who is under investigation for terrorist offenses.

September: Weber publishes “On Some Categories of Interpretive Sociology” in Logos.

October–November: Following discussion at the Association of Social Policy, Weber outlines his position on the place of value judgments in social science and social policy. This is published in expanded form in 1917 in the journal Logos.




March–April: Weber supports Frieda Gross in court cases brought by her father-in-law Dr. Hans Gross, the criminologist. Weber debates the limits of ethical goodness and Tolstoy with Ernst Frick.

June: First volume of Outline of Social-Economics appears.

August: Start of World War One. Weber reports to duty as a reserve officer and is appointed captain with responsibilities for Baden military hospitals. Steps down in September 1915.

(p. xxvi) 1915


Brussels, Belgium


June: Weber offers his publisher a series of essays, “The Economic Ethics of the World Religions.” These appear from October 1915 to January 1920 in the Archive. They comprise the famous essays on Confucianism and Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism, and ancient Judaism. They are accompanied by a crucial introduction and interlinking essay, “Intermediate Reflection.”

August: Weber sounds out the possibility of a job as an economic advisor with the occupying German government.

December: Weber publishes “Bismarck’s Foreign Policy and the Present” in the Frankfurter Zeitung. It is the first of a series of newspaper articles highly critical of the German high command’s conduct of the war and its control of the government.




East Prussia

Vienna and Budapest


February: “Between Two Laws” (those of Christian pacificism and patriotism) appears in the journal The Woman. Weber discusses Germany’s responsibility before history.

February: Joins committee on economic integration of central European countries.

March: Weber sends an opinion to eighteen leading parliamentarians pointing out the unacceptable risks of unrestricted submarine warfare.

Easter: Weber travels with Lili Schäfer (his sister) to visit the grave of her husband, who was killed on the Eastern Front.

May–June: Unofficial information-gathering trip on morale of Germany’s wartime allies.

October: Invited by the Progressive People’s Party to give a lecture, “Germany among the European World Powers.”



Lauenstein, Thuringia, Germany



April to June: Weber publishes in the Frankfurter Zeitung a series of articles entitled “Parliament and Government under a New Political Order. Towards a Political Critique of Officialdom and the Party System.”

May and September/October: Weber is a participant in conferences organized by the publisher Eugen Diederichs on the role of culture in the future of Germany.

October: Weber considers offers of professorial chairs. Gives lecture “Problems of the Sociology of the State.”

November: Gives lecture “Science as a Vocation” at the invitation of the Free Students Society.

December: Publishes pamphlet “Suffrage and Democracy in Germany.”

(p. xxvii) 1918



Frankfurt am Main



April to July: Guest professor at the university. Lectures on “Economy and Society. A Positive Critique of the materialist Conception of History.”

June: Gives lecture on socialism to officers of the Austro–Hungarian army.

November: Gives a speech on “Germany’s New Political Order” shortly before outbreak of German revolutions.

November–December: Works with the Frankfurter Zeitung on articles on Germany’s future state form.

December: Weber becomes candidate for the Reichstag for the newly formed German Democratic Party. His candidature is unsuccessful.

December: Participant in informal talks on the new German constitution under the leadership of Hugo Preuß, secretary of state for the interior. Weber also participant in the General Economic Parliament.

Winter: Makes electoral speeches across the country supporting the German Democratic Party.





Berlin and Versailles


January: Marianne Weber elected representative for the Baden German Democratic Party at the Constitutional Convention.

January: Weber gives lecture “Politics as a Vocation” on the invitation of the Free Students Society.

Weber considers offers of professorial chairs from a number of universities.

February: Initial meeting in Weber’s house of The Heidelberg Association for a Policy of Justice in respect to war guilt. The one-time Reich chancellor Prince Max von Baden attends.

April: Weber is named professor for social science, economic history, and economics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich.

May–June: Advisor to the German peace delegation. Weber accepted the peace treaty but was personally most opposed to the admission of German war guilt.

Weber tells General Ludendorff, as supreme commander, he should surrender himself to the Allies and carry personal responsibility for the conduct of the war.

June: Moves to Munich and gives lecture course, “The Most Universal Categories of the Science of Society.”

August: Becomes a member of the Bavarian Academy of the Sciences.

October: Helene Weber dies in Charlottenburg.

Gives lecture course, “Outline of Universal Social and Economic History.”

(p. xxviii) 1920


January: Weber’s lectures disrupted by right-wing, anti-Semitic students. Weber refuses the idea of a judicial pardon for Count Arco, who had assassinated the Bavarian socialist politician and one-time prime minister, Kurt Eisner.

February–May: Weber corrects the proofs for volume 1 of the Collected Essays on the Sociology of Religion and Economy and Society.

April: Weber resigns from committee of German Democratic Party because of the extent of its socialization policies.

May–June: Lectures on the “General Theory of the State and Politics (Sociology of the State)” and “Socialism.”

14 June: Weber dies from pneumonia. Funeral service held in Munich. His ashes are interred in Heidelberg cemetery.