This April saw the 150th anniversary of the birthday of Max Weber (1864-1920), the highly influential academic and intellectual. He is regarded as one of the key figures in establishing sociology as a scientific discipline and was a founding member of the DeMaxWeberutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie in 1909.

Max Weber held professorships in Freiburg, Heidelberg and Munich and was one of the editors of the Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, one of the most important social science periodicals. In this periodical he published one of his most famous works “Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus”.

His work encompasses a wide range of subjects: economics and law, religion and society, state and power. It continues to attract attention to the present day and has been widely translated. The numerous entries for Max Weber as author and subject in our library catalogue testify to this.

To assess the impact of Max Weber’s work the Max Weber Stiftung organised an international conference in 2012 entitled “Max Weber in der Welt”. The conference proceedings ( will be published this spring and the library will acquire this title when available.

Two new biographies of Max Weber (in German) have been published to coincide with the anniversary: a concise account by Jürgen Kaube entitled Max Weber : ein Leben zwischen den Epochen (200:2.c.201.99) and the expansive and exhaustive account by Dirk Kaesler, Max Weber : Preusse, Denker , Muttersohn (200:2.c.201.106).

The most important contribution to Max Weber scIMG_0793holarship over the last few decades has been the Max Weber Gesamtausgabe (200.c.98.634-689), the historical-critical edition of the complete works of Max Weber. It is published on behalf of the Committee for Social and Economic History of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities and divided into three sections:

• I: Writings and Speeches
• II: Letters
• III: Lectures and Transcripts of Lectures

Preparation for the edition began in the 1970s and the first volumes were published in 1984. Currently over 30 volumes have appeared and it is hoped that all of the planned 47 volumes will have been published by 2020, the centenary of Max Weber’s death.

Cambridge University Library is acquiring the complete set; see here for all the volumes published so far. Particularly noteworthy is the recently published volume Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft : Soziologie: unvollendet 1919 – 1920 (Abt. 1, Schriften und Reden, Bd. 23) as it makes available at long last Max Weber’s main work (originally published posthumously in 1922) in an authoritative version.

To mark the anniversary the current issue (01/2014) of Akademie Aktuell (, the journal of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, focuses on Max Weber’s life and work. The various aspects of his life and work are covered in short but informative articles by renowned scholars.

Christian Staufenbiel

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