Egyptology from the First World War to the Third Reich

Ideology, Scholarship, and Individual Biographies

Only recently has Egyptology begun to critically examine its history in the first half of the 20th century. This book presents major contributions that analyze the interplay of personal biographies and political history, ideologies and academic scholarship between the First World War and the Third Reich. Peter Raulwing and Thomas Gertzen study the political activism of Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bissing, professor of Egyptology at the University of Munich and art collector, during and after the First World War. Thomas Schneider's contribution is the first comprehensive treatment of the biographies of German and Austrian Egyptologists in the time of National Socialism and their careers after 1945, with remarks on the relationship between Egyptological scholarship and Nazi ideology. Lindsay Ambridge analyzes the scholarship of James Henry Breasted, the patron of North American Egyptology, in the context of racial ideologies of the early 20th century. A concluding chapter by Peter Raulwing, added after the death of Manfred Mayrhofer, patron of the study of Indo-Aryans in the Ancient Near East, reflects on the 20th century ideological and academic interest in the question of Indo-Aryans in the Ancient Near East. In the introductory chapter, Edmund Meltzer places these studies and their significance in the wider context of Egyptological and historiographical scholarship.

"...this book makes a significant contribution to exploring a dark chapter in Egyptology's history as a discipline and an important step in understanding the effect that period had on the academic community." Edward Mushett Cole, University of Birmingham
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Biographical Note

Thomas Schneider is Professor of Egyptology and Near Eastern Studies at the University of British Columbia. After studying Egyptology at Zurich, Basel, and Paris, he was a Research Professor of the Swiss National Science Foundation at the University of Basel and Holder of the Chair in Egyptology at the University of Wales, Swansea. He is Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Egyptian History, Near Eastern Archaeology and of the series Culture and History of the Ancient Near East. His contribution to this volume is part of a major research project on the history of Egyptology in Nazi Germany.

Peter Raulwing studied Historical Comparative Linguistics, Indo-Iranian Languages and Near Eastern Archaeology at the Universities of Bonn, Cologne and Saarbrücken. He has since become an authority in the area of horses and chariotry in the Ancient Near East, and adjacent areas, as well as the history of their modern scholarship. His publications include Horses, Chariots and Indo-Europeans (Budapest: Archaeolingua, 2000), an edited volume of Select Writings of M.A. Littauer and J.H. Crouwel (Brill, 2002), studies on ancient hippology, and the Scythians and their reception from antiquity until modern times. He is currently working on a Bibliographie Raisonnée on the Indo-Aryans in the Ancient Near East based on the works of Manfred Mayrhofer to be published with Brill.

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