Max Weber grew up in the time of Bismarck, and his father was a lawyer and a member of the Reichstag. Weber was privileged to have had a very rigorous education in language, the classics, and history. A man of prodigious learning, he attended several universities: Strasbourg, Gottingen, Berlin and Heidelberg--where he was appointed a professor of economics in 1894--but he did not maintain permanent academic positions due to ill health. He had a nervous breakdown in 1898, and became an independent scholar, living most of his life in Heidelburg. His scholarship was interdisciplinary, and he applied the knowledge of his time and his own insights to social structures. His many essays address concepts such as bureaucracy, stratification, group identity, and power."The Protestant Ethic & the Spirit of Capitalism" (1904), originally written in German, has become a standard text in university courses. It connects modern capitalism to its roots in religion. He continued his work in comparative religions, studying Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism and writing books on China and India.