Jan Assmann

© Philipp Rothe

Biographie

Born in 1938, Jan Assmann is an Egyptologist, cultural scientist and scholar of religion. Following his studies in the fields of Egyptology, Greek philology and classical archaeology in Heidelberg, he was professor of Egyptology at Heidelberg University from 1976 to 2003; since 2005, he is honorary professor of cultural studies and the theory of religion at the University of Konstanz. Archaeological research conducted in Theban tombs led him to engage with Egyptian religious history; in due course, his research focus shifted to the genesis of monotheism and the continuation of Egyptian cosmotheism in European religious and intellectual history. In this field, he published, inter alia, Moses der Ägypter (1998, Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism), Die Mosaische Unterscheidung (2003, The Mosaic Distinction or The Price of Monotheism) and Religio Duplex. Europäische Mysterien und europäische Aufklärung (2010, Religio Duplex. How the European Enlightenment Reinvented Egyptian Religion). In 2006, these works were followed by Thomas Mann und Ägypten, in which he summarised his view of Thomas Mann as an accomplished theoretician of religion. Together with Aleida Assmann, he developed the theory of cultural memory in an extensive series of publications. Since 2003, Jan Assmann has also been focusing on musicological studies, publishing books and essays on Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Schoenberg and Stravinsky.

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