As an historian, I focus my research on history of the humanities, especially theology, philology, and history. My work centres on cultural and intellectual life in 19th-century Germany, with special concentration on the Hebrew Bible and ancient Judaism.

I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual European Fellow at the University of Cambridge and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Queens’ College.

During postgraduate study, I held posts and fellowships across North America and Europe, in departments of history, divinity, philosophy, and culture. After my time at Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago, I completed my doctorate at the University of Göttingen. While finishing my dissertation, I also held visiting fellowships at Ghent University, the Leibniz Institute of European History (Mainz), and the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural & Social Studies (Erfurt).

In addition to Horizon 2020 of the European Commission, I have secured external funding from the Fulbright Program, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), and the American Schools of Oriental Research.


Dr. phil., summa cum laude, History (University of Göttingen, 2016)




Kaiser, Christ, and Canaan: The Religion of Israel in Protestant Germany, 1871–1918. Forschungen zum Alten Testament I/122. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018.


Friedemann Boschwitz, Julius Wellhausen: Motives and Measures of His Historiography. With An Edition of Extant Correspondence. Edited and translated by Paul Michael Kurtz. Critical Studies in Hebrew Bible. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, under contract.


Reinhard G. Kratz, Historical and Biblical Israel: The History, Tradition, and Archives of Israel and Judah. Translated by Paul Michael Kurtz. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.


“How 19th-century German classicists wrote the Jews out of ancient history.” History & Theory, forthcoming 2019.

“Of Lions, Arabs, & Israelites: Some Lessons from the Samson Story for Writing the History of Biblical Scholarship.” Journal of the Bible and Its Reception 5/1 (2018): 31–48.

“‘Was wir von dem Siege erhoffen’. Eine Stellungnahme Hermann Gunkels zur Zeit des Ersten Weltkriegs.” Zeitschrift für die neuere Theologiegeschichte/Journal for the History of Modern Theology 24/1 (2017): 51–59.

“Waiting at Nemi: Wellhausen, Gunkel, and the World Behind Their Work.” Harvard Theological Review 109/4 (2016): 567–85.

“Axes of Inquiry: The Problem of Form and Time in Wellhausen and Gunkel.” Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 29/2 (2015): 247–95.

“The Way of War: Wellhausen, Israel, and Bellicose Reiche.” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 127/1 (2015): 1–19.


“The Silence on the Land: Ancient Israel versus Modern Palestine in Academic Theology at the Time of the German Empire.” In The Religious and the Secular: The Kaiserreich transnational revisited. Edited by Rebekka Habermas. New York: Berghahn Books, 2019.

“Thou Shalt Not Kill, Unless…: The Decalogue in a Kaiserreich at War.” In The Mobilization of Biblical Scholarship. Edited by Nathan MacDonald and Andrew Mein. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies. London: Bloomsbury, 2019.


Entitled Kaiser, Christ, and Canaan: The Religion of Israel in Protestant Germany, 1871–1918 (Mohr Siebeck 2018), my first book seeks to what extent, in an age of allegedly disinterested “philological science,” the very enterprise of reconstructing past religion – from object to approach – was shaped by liberal Protestant values shared by dominant historians in Prussia at the turn of the 20th century. It explores what scholars of antiquity considered “religion” and “history” to be, how they sought to access them, and why they pursued them the way that they did. To do so, this book examines a major shift in what counted as proper history, in what qualified as the right way to understand the past, by scrutinizing Julius Wellhausen and Hermann Gunkel – two massively influential intellectuals, though little known among historians today.

Paul Michael Kurtz

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