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Religion and the Rise of Capitalism

Religion and the Rise of Capitalism

A Historical Survey

By R. H. Tawney

356 pp

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About the Book

It is difficult to deny that most of the West currently functions under the reign of capitalism. Despite this fact, however, the question of where this paradigm arose from, and how it came to occupy such a prominent place in our society, remains unclear. It is this vital question that Religion and the Rise of Capitalism seeks to address. In what has proven to be something of a minor classic, R. H. Tawney sets his sights high, returning to the Middle Ages and examining the history of both capitalism and religion in a socio-economic context. Prudently avoiding jargon or a one-sided analysis, Tawney examines religion and capitalism side-by-side, not as polar entities, but as mutually responsive to each other. With a measured, historical approach, Tawney shows how changes and developments in the religious sphere, such as the Protestant reformation, had a profound impact on the economic realm.

Despite being first published in 1926, Tawney’s arguments are perhaps even more poignant now than when he first penned them. As the divide between social and ethical concerns and economic practices become ever more apparent, this book confronts the modern reader with the realities of our capitalistic world.

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