Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber (21 April 1864 14 June 1920) was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research and the discipline of sociology itself. A key proponent of methodological antipositivism, which presents sociology as a non-empiricist field which must study social action through interpretive means based upon understanding the meaning and purpose that individuals attach to their own actions, Weber is often cited, with Émile Durkheim and Karl Marx, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science. Weber was also highly influential with his thesis in economic sociology, elaborated in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, that ascetic Protestantism was one of the major "elective affinities" associated with the rise of capitalism, bureaucracy and the rational-legal nation-state in the Western world. Against Marx's "historical materialism," Weber emphasised the importance, for understanding the development of capitalism, of cultural influences embedded in religion. The Protestant Ethic formed the earliest part in Weber's broader investigation into the sociology of religion. Begun as a series of essays, the original German text was composed in 1904.It is considered a founding text in economic sociology and sociology in general. This edition of The Protestant Ethic is specially formatted with a Table of Contents.