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Polymath of the old school: Jan Assmann died

2024-02-20T15:23:28.200Z

Highlights: Jan Assmann was an Egyptologist, cultural and religious scientist. He has published more than 50 writings on a wide variety of topics. Between Egyptology and classical music there is a horizon of topics that Assmann has examined scientifically. Assmanns analyzed that it was only 40 years after the Second World War that the memory of the repressed Holocaust began to emerge in Germany. The confrontation with the darkest chapter of German history was triggered by Richard von Weizsäcker's speech on May 8, 1985.



As of: February 20, 2024, 4:02 p.m

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Jan Assmann, Egyptologist, religious scientist and cultural scientist.

© Silas Stein/dpa

Jan Assmann was an Egyptologist, cultural and religious scientist.

He has published more than 50 writings on a wide variety of topics.

Now he has died.

Heidelberg/Konstanz - The cultural scientist Jan Assmann is dead. He died in the night from Sunday to Monday, as a spokeswoman for the University of Heidelberg confirmed on Tuesday upon request.

The university is in contact with the family and has received the message from Assmann's family, the spokeswoman said.

According to the “Südkurier” Assmann died in Konstanz at the age of 85.

Assmann, born in 1938, was an Egyptologist, cultural and religious scientist, and a polymath of the old school.

From 1976 to 2003, when he retired, he was professor of Egyptology in Heidelberg.

He then became an honorary professor at the University of Konstanz, where his wife Aleida Assmann taught until 2014.

The two received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2018.

Between Egyptology and classical music there is a horizon of topics that Assmann has examined scientifically.

This could be seen from the letters on the license plates of the two family cars: TT for Theben Tombs (Tombs of Thebes) and KV for the list of Mozart's works.

The list of his publications ranges from “The Magic Flute.

An Opera with Two Faces” to “Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt” to “Religion and Cultural Memory”.

The love of music shaped the young years of Assmann, who was born in Langelsheim, Lower Saxony.

As a student he composed his own pieces.

However, his career as a musician was thwarted by the sometimes traumatic circumstances he experienced during and after the war.

But the ancient languages, especially cuneiform writing and hieroglyphs, also had a magical appeal for the “precocious young man” - as Assmann saw himself.

Against his parents' wishes that he should prefer classical archeology to the "profitless art" of Egyptology, the architect's son decided to study the "orchid subject" in Heidelberg.

With great success: one of the highlights of his Egyptological career was the discovery of a burial site in the Valley of the Kings.

The love of drawing had once brought Assmann and his wife together: they started talking at the wedding party of Jan Assmann's mentor.

He admired her pictures for the celebration and impressed her with a ballad complete with pictures.

At the age of 21, Aleida married Jan, who was nine years older than her, in 1968 at the height of the student movement - an unusual civil act in intellectual circles. The couple has five children.

The Assmanns analyzed that it was only 40 years after the Second World War that the memory of the repressed Holocaust began to emerge in Germany.

The confrontation with the darkest chapter of German history was triggered by Richard von Weizsäcker's speech on May 8, 1985. Von Weizsäcker was the first German Federal President to describe the day of the Wehrmacht's unconditional surrender as the day of liberation from the inhumane system of Nazi tyranny - not as a day of defeat.

That was the starting signal for monuments and days of remembrance - the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis became a formative part of the Germans' collective memory.

dpa

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2024-02-20

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