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Dr Paul Michael Kurtz

Biography:

Dr. phil., summa cum laude, University of Göttingen (2016)

Paul Michael Kurtz has been a Marie Curie Fellow at Cambridge, a Fulbright Scholar at Göttingen, and a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). He has received other external funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and American Schools of Oriental Research.

During his postgraduate education, Kurtz held posts and fellowships across both North America and Europe, where his work was housed in departments of history, divinity, and philosophy. After Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago, he conducted dissertation research on the Sofja Kovalevskaja project “Early Jewish Monotheisms,” which was funded by the Humboldt Foundation and hosted at Göttingen. While completing his doctorate, Kurtz also held visiting fellowships at Ghent University, Leibniz Institute of European History (Mainz), and Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural & Social Studies (Erfurt). He came to Cambridge after a year of postdoctoral research, also at Göttingen.

College

Queens' College:
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Research Interests

Kurtz concentrates his research on the history of biblical, classical, and orientalist scholarship in the 19th and 20th centuries. More broadly, his work centers on the history of the humanities and the history of knowledge.

Key Publications

Entitled Kaiser, Christ, and Canaan: The Religion of Israel in Protestant Germany, 1871–1918 (Mohr Siebeck, 2018), Kurtz’s first book examines to what extent, in an age of “philological science,” the very enterprise of reconstructing past religion was shaped by liberal Protestant values. It explores what scholars of antiquity considered “religion” and “history” to be, how they sought to access them, and why they pursued them the way that they did. To do so, this study scrutinizes the epistemologies and practices of Julius Wellhausen and Hermann Gunkel to show, on the one hand, a major shift in what counted as proper historiography—in what qualified as the right way to understand the past—at the turn of the 20th century and yet a fundamental continuity in the conceptualization of “history” and “religion” despite real, often dramatic shifts across the human sciences, on the other. The book ultimately uncovers how the past was Protestantized, how central questions of the Bible, theology, and the ancient world were in the cultural and intellectual of the German Empire, and how specific conceptual categories and methodological operations were built into the modern study of antiquity.

Other Publications

Forthcoming:

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