By W. V. Harris
Moses Finley (1912-1986) used to be the most generally learn scholarly historians and newshounds of his age, having grown recognized with the realm of Odysseus; and he exercised a transformative effect at the research of the background of Greek and Roman antiquity. during this centenary quantity distinct old historians and Americanists examine Finley’s political and highbrow evolution, and try to comprehend the paradoxes of the younger leftist and sufferer of McCarthyism whose paintings owes extra to Weber than to Marx and of the younger Jewish student (Moses Finkelstein) who distanced himself from Jewishness.
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Additional resources for Moses Finley and Politics
Even then this was dangerous, as Stasi communications about ‘pseudowissenschaftliche’ historians at the Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften made clear. ] und [geschwärzt] mit Unterstützung von [geschwärzt] im März/April 1977 stattfinden soll (Fotokopie siehe Anlage). Nach Einschätzung unseres IM, dessen fachliche Kompetenz auf diesem Wissenschafts gebiet ausser Zweifel steht, soll mit diesem Kolloquium der Versuch unternommen werden, die revisionistische These von der Existenz einer 6. Gesellschaftsformation, der sogenannten asiatischen Produktionsweise, zu propagieren und pseudowissen schaftlich zu belegen.
15 Finley may be even more meaningfully contrasted with his contemporaries and colleagues Elias Bickerman and Arnaldo Momigliano. Like them Finley was a Jew who had witnessed the upheavals of the early and mid-twentieth century, though the others admittedly had done so at closer quarters. Like them, Finley was brilliant and self-consciously iconoclastic. 16 How then to explain Finley? 13 Jones 1938. 14 Hopkins 2000. 15 See Syme 1971 and 1988. 16 Baumgarten’s book about Bickerman (Baumgarten 2010) has much to say about Momigliano as well.
Finley’s grandfather’s epitaph in the Preobrazhenskii Cemetery in Leningrad mentions his descent from the Maharal. The importance of yihus (rabbinic ancestry) in traditional Jewish eastern Europe—it provided automatic social networks within the rabbinic class, and extensive cultural capital, crucial in both the marriage and professional markets, outside it—is if anything demonstrated by Finley’s presumably humorous or ironic preservation of the value. 20 In 1907, according to Mikhail (Michael) Beizer, the late-Soviet era chronicler of Jewish Petersburg and Leningrad, he was appointed official rabbi of St.