Paul Michael Kurtz is a modern cultural, intellectual, and religious historian, with further expertise in ancient Judaism and Semitic philology. His research centers on the formation, transmission, and circulation of knowledge about the ancient world both in and between Europe and the Middle East from 1770 to 1930.
In his early work, Kurtz concentrated on the technical scholarly practices as well as the nationalist, political, and theological ideas that shaped representations of early Judaism in the German Empire. The focus centered on historiography in biblical, classical, and oriental studies.
With his more recent endeavors, he is investigating philology as the premier science of the long nineteenth century. This research concentrates on the networks, media, and infrastructure involved in collecting, circulating, and processing textual artifacts. His approach expands traditional work on the history of the humanities by combining an understanding of global and colonial history, media theory, informatics, and history of science. It serves as the conceptual basis for his new ERC Starting Grant project "Philology as Science in 19th-Century Europe."
Since 2019, Kurtz has been a Research Fellow of the Flemish Research Council (FWO). Before coming to Ghent, he was a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Cambridge and Queens' College (2017–19) and a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Göttingen (2016–17). In 2016, he obtained a Dr. phil. in History, with highest distinction, from Göttingen, where he was also a Fulbright Scholar. During doctoral studies, he held fellowships at the University of Chicago, Leibniz Institute of European History, and Max Weber Centre for Advanced Studies, which followed an MDiv at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Kurtz's work appears in the finest journals of history, religion, and culture, such as History & Theory, Critical Inquiry, Central European History, and Harvard Theological Review. His first monograph, on the historiography of ancient Israel in the German Empire, was published by Mohr Siebeck in 2018. For a full listing of publications (together with abstracts!), see his page on Humanities Commons: link via Personal Website in the right sidebar.
Over the years, Kurtz has received generous support from, inter alia, the European Research Executive Agency, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Flemish Research Council (FWO), Fulbright Program, and American Schools of Oriental Research.