Weber and geertz on the meaning of religion

Robert A. Segal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Clifford Geertz often cites Max Weber as the pioneering ‘interpretive’ social scientist. But the approaches of Weber and Geertz to interpretation differ sharply. Both associate interpretation with meaning, but they diverge on the nature of meaning, on the relationship between meaning and cause, and on the consequent relationship between interpretation and explanation. While both use ‘meaning’ not only as intent but also as significance, or meaningfulness, they diverge on the origin of meaningfulness, on the form meaningfulness takes and on the threats to meaningfulness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-71
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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