Walter Burkert

1990 Balzan Prize for the Study of the Ancient World (Mediterranean Area)

Walter Burkert is the most eminent of today’s scholars who work in the field of ancient religion. In a series of remarkable books, he has combined originality with a mastery of all the relevant categories of evidence, from Near Eastern archaeology to the Greek philosophical tradition, and he has demonstrated a profound understanding of the anthropological, ethological, and psychological aspects of religion.

Walter Burkert  was born in Neuendettelsau (Bavaria) on February 2, 1931 (†2015).
Assistant (1957), then Privatdozent (1961-1966) at the University of Erlangen;
Junior Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington (1965- 1966);
Professor of Classics at the Technische Universität Berlin (1966-1969);
Visiting Professor at the Harvard University (1968);
Professor of Classics at the University of Zurich (1969-1996) and Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy I (1986-1988);
Sather Professor of Classical Literature at the University of California at Berkeley (1977);
Carl Newell Jackson Lectures at the Harvard University (1982);
Gifford Lectures at St. Andrews (Scotland) (1989);
Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, of the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, of the Braunschweigische Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft, of the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften and of the Oesterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften;
Foreign Member of the American Philosophical Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Honorary Member of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, London;
Doctor honoris causa from the Universities of Toronto, Fribourg (Switzerland), Oxford and Chicago.
Orden Pour le mérite für Wissenschaften und Künste 1999.

Among his most important books are:

Weisheit und Wissenschaft. Studien zu Pythagoras, Philolaos und Platon (Nürnberg, Hans Carl Verlag, 1962),
English edition: Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism (Cambridge, Mass. , Harvard University Press, 1972);

Homo Necans. Interpretationen altgriechischer Opfèrriten und Mythen (Berlin, De Gruyter, 1972),
Italian edition: Homo Necans. Antropologia del Sacrificio Cruento nella Grecia Antica (Torino, Boringhieri, 1981),
English edition: Homo Necans. The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth (Berkeley, California, University of California Press, 1983);

Griechische Religion der archaischen und klassischen Epoche (Stuttgart, Kohhammer, 1977),
Italian edition: Storia delle Religioni, vol.8: I Greci (Milano, Jaca Book, 1984),
English edition: Greek Religion. Archaic and Classical (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1985; Oxford, Mac Millan Press, 1985);

Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual (Berkeley, California, University of California Press, 1979),
Italian edition: Mito e Rituale in Grecia. Struttura e Storia (Bari, Laterza, 1987);

Die orientalisierende Epoche in der griechischen Religion und Literatur (Sitzungsberichte der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-historische Klasse, 1984),
English edition: The Orientalizing Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1992);

Ancient Mystery Cults (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1987),
Italian edition: Antichi Culti Misterici (Bari, Laterza, I 989),
German edition: Antike Mysterien. Eunktionen und Gehalt (München, Beck, 1990);

Creation of the Sacred (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1996),
German edition: Kulte des Altertums: Biologische Grundlagen der Religion (München, Beck, 1998).

(January 2002)

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