• The Little Commonwealth: The Family as Matrix of Markets and Morality in Early Protestantism

    Justin J. Latterell, John Witte, Jr. (see profile)
    Economics, Families, History, Law, Protestantism, Religion
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Law and Religion, Max Weber, Vocation, Family
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    Max Weber traced the rise of the modern economy back to the convergence of new Protestant teachings on vocation, predestination, and asceticism. It was especially the marital household, this Article argues, that served as an incubator of these Protestant teachings and a laboratory for their application to economic activity. The early modern Protestant family was structured and schooled to cultivate the critical habits of discipline and organization in the economic lives of its members. Early modern Protestant catechisms and household manuals set out in detail the moral and religious rules, rights, and responsibilities that husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants had to each other and to their neighbors in different stages of life. It is here, in the elementary ethics and intimate experiences of the Protestant household, that many of the basic norms and habits of modern economic life were slowly instilled and cultivated in each new generation. This chapter offers case studies of Heinrich Bullinger, Robert Cleaver, William Perkins, and Richard Baxter to illustrate how the early modern Protestant family was structured to support church, state, society, and economy alike.
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    Book chapter    
    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
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