Mosse Lecture Series
The George L. Mosse lecture series is one of the most distinguished events of its kind. Leading scholars from a variety of historical research are invited to give three open lectures about their work, which are later published as a book.
Past Mosse Lectures
Michael R. Marrus (2008)
"Some Measure of Justice: The American Campaign for Holocaust Restitution"
The next Mosse lectures will take place in Jerusalem on November 2008 and will be given by Prof. Michael R. Marrus (University of Toronto). Michael R. Marrus is Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies at the University of Toronto. A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, he has been a visiting professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and UCLA; and a visitng fellow of St. Antony's College, Oxford, and the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Having recently completed seven years as dean of graduate studies, his interests have turned toward issues of law and historical representation. Author of The Holocaust in History and The Politics of Assimilation, Prof. Marrus is one of the most renowned historians of Modern European and Jewish History.
Prof. Marrus will give a series of three lectures, in which he shall examine the 1990s debates about the Holocaust.
Seeking Justice: Holocaust Wrongs Meet American Law
Chair: Prof. Steven Aschheim
Monday, November 24th, 2008.
* Reception and light refreshments will be served from 7 p.m.
Analyzing Justice: Restitution in Law and History
Chair: Prof. Renée Poznanski
Wednesday, November 26th, 2008.
Evaluating Justice: What Was Achieved?
Chair: Prof. Yehuda Bauer
Sunday, November 30th, 2008.
All lectures will be given in English and commence at 7:30 PM at the Van-Leer Institute, 43 Jabotinsky Street, Jerusalem.
Please note that parking within the Institute is not permitted
For a PDF version of the schedule please see the invitation.
Ruth Harris (2006)
“The Intimate Politics of the Dreyfus Affair”
March 27, 28, and 30th, 2006, 4:00 P.M.
The Pyle Center, 610 Langdon St.
March 27, 2006
March 28, 2006
The Muse and the Historian
March 30, 2006
Three Jewish Brothers
At the end of 1894, a Jewish captain named Alfred Dreyfus was accused of treason and was sent to Devil's Island to live in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. It was not until 1906, more than ten years later, that he was finally fully rehabilitated for a crime he never committed. In the interim, the Dreyfus Affair convulsed France, as supporters of Dreyfus fought against those who sought to keep him in prison despite mounting evidence of his innocence and even the confession of the real traitor.
The Dreyfus Affair was one of the turning points of modern French political history, and has been commemorated by the Republican elite as a triumph of benevolent and rational secularism that inoculated France from the temptations of interwar fascism. Such an interpretation pits Left against Right, secularism against Catholicism, rationalism against obscurantism and the universalism of the French Revolutionary tradition against an exclusive and aggressive nationalism. Like the myth of ‘resistance’ used to salvage national pride after defeat and collaboration during World War II, the fable of Dreyfusard triumph provides a comforting view of a ‘true’ France battling successfully against fanaticism.
The lectures overturn this complacent vision by rejecting the conventional wisdom of the Dreyfusards as intellectuals who unambiguously supported the cause of rationalism. Rather, the lectures show how their political commitment was inspired not only by humanitarian idealism, but also by venomous hatreds, fantasies of brutalization, and conspiratorial fears. Using thousands of pages of documents never before cited, the lectures explore the emotional world of leading Dreyfusards and show how their political advocacy grew out of their passionate friendships, love affairs and sibling relations. All three lectures focus on the role of history-of classical antiquity, the Bible, the Renaissance, and the enlightenment-in providing both heroic models and examples of conflict, which, they believed, supplied important lessons for waging war against their anti-Dreyfusard opponents. Although the Dreyfusards were often leading anticlericals, Ruth Harris will show how their ‘mystique’ often came to share the missionizing zeal and even authoritarianism of their religious and right-wing enemies.
Ruth Harris is Fellow and Tutor in Modern History, New College, and Lecturer in the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford. She received her doctorate in history from St. Antony's College, Oxford in 1984. She is the author of Lourdes: Body and Spirit in the Secular Age, Viking Press, 1999, and Murder and Madness: Medicine, Law and Society in the Fin de Siècle, Oxford University Press, 1989. Currently, she is working on The Dreyfus Affair forthcoming from Penguin/Metropolitan, 2008.
Jan Assmann (2004)
“The Rise of Monotheism in the Ancient World”
November 30, December 2, December 6, 2004
The Van Leer Institute,
43 Jabotinski St,
November 30, 2004
What is Polytheism?
Any reflection about the nature of these new religious movements which we subsume under the term "monotheism" should start with an attempt towards a better understanding of "polytheism". This will be topic of my first lecture. Ancient Egypt will serve as a paradigm of polytheism. The basic idea is that a polytheistic "pantheon" is not a random accumulation of deities but a structured system giving structure and meaning to the human world in its three dimensions of nature, polity and personal biography.
December 2, 2004
All Gods are One: Evolutionary and Inclusive Monotheism
Already in the 17th century when the terms "monotheism" and "polytheism" were not yet coined, R. Cudworth stated that all religions were basically monotheistic in that they acknowledged only one supreme deity as origin or creator of the universe. In our time, C. S. Lewis said that monotheism should be regarded not as the opposite but as the maturity of polytheism. This holds true for an evolutionary trend that can be observed in Indian, Mesopotamian, Greek and Egyptian religions. Again, the lecture will concentrate on Egypt to show the various steps this "evolutionary monotheism" took to evolve around the basic idea of divine unity, which Cudworth was right to postulate.
December 6, 2004
No god but God: Revolutionary and Exclusive Monotheism
Starting with the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten in the 14th c. BCE, and continuing with those movements in Biblical history which the name "Moses" stands for, the ancient world saw the advent of a form of monotheism which - at least in its own understanding - opposed traditional religion and related to what went before in terms of revolution rather than evolution. The lecture will concentrate on the most problematic aspect of revolutionary and exclusive monotheism which is the language of violence, trying to show that violence is not a necessary consequence but only an implicit potentiality of monotheism.
Jan Assmann studied Egyptology, Archaeology and Greek philology at Heidelberg, Munich, Göttingen and Paris. Dr. phil. 1965, Dr. phil. habil. 1971 (both Egyptology, University of Heidelberg). 1976 - 2003 full professor of Egyptology (Heidelberg).
His main fields of research are Ancient Egyptian literature and religion in the context of Comparative Literature and Religious Studies, Egyptian funerary beliefs and practices, Theban tombs of the Ramesside period; cultural theory (especially "cultural memory"); history of religion, especially the rise of monotheism in the ancient world; early modern concepts of Egyptian culture ("Egyptomania").
He has been visiting professor at Collège de France, Paris (May-June 1988), Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris (1998); Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris (1999); Yale (September-October 1988, spring term 2002), Rice (Oct 2000); Hebrew University, Jerusalem (1990), Dormitio Abbey, Jerusalem (September-October 1996, April 2000); Fondazione San Carlo, Modena (May 2000), Houston (Rice: Oct 2000), Yale (spring 2002, 2003).
He is a member of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities Heidelberg and of the Academia Europea; correspondent member of the German Archaeological Institute since 1973; Fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (1984/85); Scholar, Getty Center for the History of Arts and the Humanities (1994/95); fellow, C.F. von Siemens-Stiftung Munich (1998/99); fellow, IFK Vienna (2004).
Awards: Max-Planck-Forschungspreis 1996; Deutscher Historikerpreis 1998. Prix Psyché 2000; D. theol.h.c. (Münster, 1998); PhD h.c. (Yale, 2004).
Field-work at Thebes, Upper Egypt, since 1966, concentrating on tombs of the 25th and 26th dynasties (1966-1974) and on tombs of the "Ramesside" period, 19th and 20th dynasties (since 1977).
Jan Assmann photograph: Original image and license
32 books, including Ägyptische Hymnen und Gebete (Zurich 1975, 2 nd ed. Fribourg 1999); Zeit und Ewigkeit im alten Ägypten. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Ewigkeit. Heidelberg 1975); Re und Amun. Die K(rise des Polytheismus (Fribourg 1983), engl. Solar Religion in the New Kingdom, (London 1995); Ägypten: Theologie und Frömmigkeit einer frühen Hochkultur (Stuttgart 1984 trans. into Japanese, Russian and Hebrew), engl. The Search for God in Ancient Egypt, Ithaca 2000 ; Maât, l'Égypte pharaonique et l'idée de justice sociale. Conf érences, essais et leçons du Collège de France (Paris: Julliard, 1989; trans. into Arabic); Ma'at. Gerechtigkeit und Unsterblichkeit im Alten Aegypten, Munich 1990; Stein und Zeit. Mensch und Gesellschaft im Alten Ägypten, (Munich 1991); Das kulturelle Gedächtnis. Schrift, Erinnerung und politische Identität in frühen Hochkulturen (Munich 1992; trans. into Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Turkish, Bulgarian, Arabic); Ägypten. Eine Sinngeschichte, (Munich 1996), engl: The Mind of Egypt. History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs, (New York 2002); Moses the Egyptian. The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism, (Cambridge, Mass. 1997); German: Moses der Ägypter, Munich 1998, trans. into Italian and French); Weisheit und Mysterium. Das Bild der Griechen von Ägypten, (Munich 2000); Der Tod als Thema der Kulturtheorie, (Frankfurt 2000); Herrschaft und Heil. Politische Theologie in Altägypten, Israel und Europa, (Munich 2000); Images et rites de la mort en Egypte ancienne . L'apport des liturgies funéraires, (Paris 2000); Religion und kulturelles Gedächtnis . Zehn Studien, (Munich 2000); Tod und Jenseits im alten Ägypten, Munich 2001; Altägyptische Totenliturgien vol. I, (Heidelberg 2002); Die Mosaische Unterscheidung oder der Preis des Monotheismus, Munich 2003.
Coeditor (with Aleida Assmann) of the series "Archäologie der literarischen Kommunikation": Schrift und Gedächtnis (1983), Kanon und Zensur (1987), Weisheit (1990), Text und Kommentar (1995), Schleier und Schwelle I-III = Geheimnis und Öffentlichkeit (1997), Geheimnis und Offenbarung (1998), Geheimnis und Neugierde (1999); Einsamkeit (2000) and Aufmerksamkeiten (2001), and (co)editor of more than 20 other books including: Kultur und Gedächtnis. (Frankfurt 1988); Kultur und Konflikt (Frankfurt 1990), Das Fest und das Heilige (Gütersloh 1991); Revolution und Mythos (Frankfurt 1992); Die Erfindung des Inneren Menschen. (Gütersloh 1993); Gerechtigkeit. Richten und Retten in der abendländischen Tradition und ihren altorientalischen Ursprüngen (Munich) 1998; Self, Soul & Body in Religious Experience (Leiden 1998); Transformations of the Inner Self in Ancient Religions (Leiden 1999); Representation in Religion. Studies in Honor of Moshe Barasch (Leiden 2001).
Roughly 450 articles, reviews, essays, contributions to Lexica etc.
Christopher R. Browning (2002)
“Collected Memories: Holocaust Memory and Post-War Testimony”
The Fluno Center
April 1, 2002
Perpetrator Testimony: Another Look at Adolf Eichmann
April 2, 2002
Survivor Testimony from Starachowice: Writing the History of a Factory Slave Labor Camp
April 3, 2002
Survivor Testimony from Starachowice: The Final Days
Christopher Browning is the leading American historian of the Holocaust. He has published six books on the Holocaust, of which the most recent is Nazi Policy, Jewish Worker, German Killers (2000). He has delivered the Trevelyan Lectures at Cambridge and has been a Senior Visiting Scholar at the Holocaust Museum. Browning is currently Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.