Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2017 Volume 13 :: Article 12
2017 Volume 13, Article 12
Certitudo Salutis and Perseverance of the Saints: The Missing Piece in the Weberian Puritan Ethic

Author: Ottavio Palombaro (University of Milan)

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Max Weber’s thesis on the Protestant ethic represents a cornerstone in the understanding of the role of religion in the economic realm. Yet many have asked, what role can religion have in our contemporary setting? Mainly at stake is the validity of the Protestant thesis today. In order to understand the connection between our contemporary society and the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, it is crucial to consider the contribution of the Puritan ethic. Weber’s reliance on the Puritan writings was driven by the conviction of the presence of an anxiety in the quest for a certitudo salutis that I contend not to be a foundational part of the religion and practice of Puritanism. A different element seems to stand out as central among the beliefs held by Puritanism and yet neglected by Weber: the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. Also, it is important to see the inheritance of this ethic in future developments of American Protestantism today and its downfall with the advent of the prosperity Gospel.

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