His routine as a teacher and scholar was interrupted so badly that he eventually withdrew from regular teaching duties in 1903, to which he would not return until 1919.Although severely compromised and unable to write as prolifically as before, he still managed to immerse himself in the study of various philosophical and religious topics, which resulted in a new direction in his scholarship as the publication of miscellaneous methodological essays as well as (1904–1905) testifies.The questions that he poses remain the central subject matter not only of modern sociology, but also more widely of contemporary social and political thought.
Also noteworthy about this period is his extensive visit to America in 1904, which left an indelible trace in his understanding of modernity in general [Scaff 2011].
After this stint essentially as a private scholar, he slowly resumed his participation in various academic and public activities.
Also, his parents represented two, often conflicting, poles of identity between which their eldest son would struggle throughout his life — worldly statesmanship and ascetic scholarship.
Educated mainly at the universities of Heidelberg and Berlin, Weber was trained in law, eventually writing his on Roman law and agrarian history under August Meitzen, a prominent political economist of the time.
It was during this time that he first established a solid reputation as a brilliant political economist and outspoken public intellectual.
All these fruitful years came to an abrupt halt in 1897 when Weber collapsed with a nervous-breakdown shortly after his father’s sudden death (precipitated by a heated confrontation with Weber) [Radkau 2011, 53–69].Weber’s presence insinuates itself into nearly every important debate and controversy within sociology.For this reason I want to argue that Weber is in a very real sense still alive.Max Weber occupies a central position in the development of sociology.His significance is not merely historical; he remains an ever-present force in contemporary sociology and in this respect he is to be differentiated from Durkheim whose historical importance is widely recognised but is less and less a point of reference in current discussions.His younger brother, Alfred, was an influential political economist and sociologist, too.Evidently, Max Weber was brought up in a prosperous, cosmopolitan, and highly cultivated family milieu that was well-plugged into the political, social, and cultural establishment of the German [Roth 2000].Weber and his wife Marianne, an intellectual in her own right and early women’s rights activist, soon found themselves at the center of the vibrant intellectual and cultural life of Heidelberg; the so-called “Weber Circle” attracted such intellectual luminaries as Georg Jellinek, Ernst Troeltsch, and Werner Sombart and later a number of younger scholars including Marc Bloch, Robert Michels, and György Lukács.Weber was also active in public life as he continued to play an important role as a Young Turk in the (especially with the leader of its younger generation, Friedrich Naumann).With Edgar Jaffé and Sombart, he took over editorial control of the ’s conservative politics and lack of methodological discipline, becoming its first treasurer (he would resign from it in 1912, though).This period of his life, until interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, brought the pinnacles of his achievements as he worked intensely in two areas – the comparative sociology of world religions and his contributions to the ).