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Prof. Jan Assmann

Jan Assmann (born July 7, 1938) is a German egyptologist who was born in Langelsheim.


Education and teaching

He went to school in Lübeck and Heidelberg before going on to study Egyptology, Classical Archeology and Greek Studies in Munich, Heidelberg, Paris and Göttingen. He was professor of Egyptology at the University of Heidelberg from 1976 to 2003, and is now at the University of Konstanz. In addition, he worked as a guest professor in Paris (Collège de France, École Pratique des Hautes Études, EHESS), Jerusalem (Hebrew University, Dormition Abbey) and the US (Yale University, University of Houston, University of Chicago).

Archeological work

Since 1967 he has been conducting archaeological fieldwork in Western Thebes (on officials’ graves dating back to the Saite period and the time of the Ramesses). He is the author of numerous books and articles on Egyptian religion, history, literature and art. He has also published comparative studies focusing on cultural theory (Das kulturelle Gedächtnis) and religion (Monotheismus und Kosmotheismus). Jan Assmann is a member of the Heidelberg Academy, the German Institute for Archaeology, the Institute for Historical Anthropology, the Egypt Exploration Society and the Société Française d’Egyptologie. He is also a member of various advisory committees including those of the Institute for Cultural Studies in Essen, the Research Institute of the Protestant University Community and the Centre for Cultural Studies in Stuttgart.


  • 1996 Max Planck Award for Research
  • 1998 German Historians’ Prize
  • 1998 Honorary Doctorate in Theology from the Theology Faculty, Munster


This article is based on the short biography at, referenced in the links section, below.


  • Re und Amun: Die Krise des polytheistischen Weltbilds im Ägypten der 18.-20. Dynastie (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 51). Fribourg and Göttingen 1983.
  • Ägypten: Theologie und Frömmigkeit einer frühen Hochkultur. Urban-Bücherei, Bd.366, Stuttgart 1984.
  • Maât: l'Égypte pharaonique et l'idée de justice sociale. Conférences, essais et leçons du Collège de France. Paris: Julliard, 1989. (Arabic Translation 1996).
  • Ma`at: Gerechtigkeit und Unsterblichkeit im alten Ägypten. 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.

(title translates as: Cultural Memory: Writing, Remembering and Political Identity in Early Civilizations)

  • Ägypten: Eine Sinngeschichte. Munich 1996.
  • Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997.
  • Moses der Ägypter: Entzifferung einer Gedächtnisspur. Munich 1998.
  • Weisheit und Mysterium: Das Bild der Griechen von Ägypten. Munich 2000.
  • Herrschaft und Heil: Politische Theologie in Altägypten, Israel und Europa. Munich 2000.
  • Religion und kulturelles Gedächtnis: Ten Studies. Munich 2000.
  • Tod und Jenseits im Alten Ägypten. Munich 2001.
  • Die Mosaische Unterscheidung oder Der Preis des Monotheismus. Munich 2003.
  • Thomas Mann und Ägypten, Mythos und Monotheismus in den Josephsromanen, Munich 2006.
  • Of God and Gods: Egypt, Israel, and the Rise of Monotheism (2008, University of Wisconsin Press)

External links



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