Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Weber on Providence/Magic

Belief in providence is the consistent rationalization of magical divination, to which it is related, and which for that reason it seeks to devaluate as completely as possible, as a matter of principle. No other view of the religious relationship could possibly be as radically opposed to all magic, both in theory and in practice, as this belief in providence which was dominant in the great theistic religions of Asia Minor and the occident. No other so emphatically affirms the nature of the divine to be an essentially dynamic activity manifested in God's personal, providential rule over the world. Moreover, there is no view of the religious relationship which holds such firm views regarding God's discretionary grace and the human creature's need of it, regarding the tremendous distance between God and all his creatures, and consequently regarding the reprehensibility of any deification of "things of the flesh" as a sacrilege against the sovereign God. For the very reason that this religion provides not rational solution of the problem of theodicy, it conceals the greatest tensions between the world and God, between the actually existent and the ideal.
- Economy and Society, ed. G. Roth and C. Wittich (Berkeley: University of California Press), 527
(borrowed from the LJ borbor_chan)

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