Mr Peter Ghosh

Featured Publication

Max Weber and the Protestant Ethic: Twin Histories (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Max Weber and 'The Protestant Ethic': Twin Histories

Max Weber and The Protestant Ethic: Twin Histories presents an entirely new portrait of Max Weber, one of the most prestigious social theorists in recent history, using his most famous work, The Protestant Ethic and the "Spirit" of Capitalism, as its central point of reference. It offers an intellectual biography of Weber framed along historical lines - something which has never been done before. It re-evaluates The Protestant Ethic - a text surprisingly neglected by scholars - supplying a missing intellectual and chronological centre to Weber's life and work. 

Peter Ghosh suggests that The Protestant Ethic is the link which unites the earlier (pre-1900) and later (post-1910) phases of his career. He offers a series of fresh perspectives on Weber's thought in various areas - charisma, capitalism, law, politics, rationality, bourgeois life, and (not least) Weber's unusual religious thinking, which was 'remote from god' yet based on close dialogue with Christian theology. This approach produces a convincing view of Max Weber as a whole; while previously the sheer breadth of his intellectual interests has caused him to be read in a fragmentary way according to a series of specialized viewpoints, this volume seeks to put him back together again as a real individual.

Awarded the Istvan Hont Prize in Intellectual History (2014) by the Institute of Intellectual History at St. Andrew’s.  Reviews: Duncan Kelley, ‘Not a donkey’, TLS Feb. 13, 2015, 3-5. Thomas Sokoll in H-Soz-Kult, 09.09.2015,   <>. Johannes Zachhuber, Marginalia 7 Dec.  2015: Keith Tribe, History 100 (2015), 764-66.  

  • The history of history from the Enlightenment to the present
  • History of social & political theory, with particular reference to Max Weber
  • The politics and culture of constitutionalism in Britain, particularly in the 19th century

My first research was on high politics in Victorian Britain (Gladstone and Disraeli), but I thought (and still think) that the best clue to understanding them lay in the basic ideas of the political class.  My current research commitments focus on Max Weber and the history of history (a larger category than that of historical writing) from the Renaissance to the present day.  The attraction of both fields lies in their combination of breadth and depth.

  • History and Theory in Max Weber's Protestant Ethic

  • Constructing Marx in the History of Ideas

  • Max Weber in Context: Essays in the History of German Ideas C. 1870-1930

  • Beyond Methodology. Max Weber’s Conception of Wissenschaft

  • Max Weber and the Protestant Ethic: Twin Histories

  • Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus

  • Why should we read Max Weber today?: his conception of Wissenschaft

  • The Guv'nor: the Place of Ross McKibbin in the writing of British history

  • Hugh Trevor-Roper and the History of Ideas

  • From the 'spirit of capital' to the 'spirit' of capitalism: the transition in German economic thought between Lujo Brentano and Max Weber

  • More

Current DPhil Students

I would be willing to hear from potential DPhil students regarding ....... or any potential Masters students looking at .......

I currently teach:


  • Modern Political and Social Theory



British V, VI, VII

British V, VI, VII

Tacitus to Weber

General History XII, XIII

Theories of the State

Political Theory & Social Science c.1780-1920

General History IV (1815-1914)

Victorian Intellect & Culture

In the Media

In Our Time, Max Weber, BBC Radio 4, 27 March 2014

List of site pages