Short Portrait: Moritz Lazarus

Moritz Lazarus
Moritz Lazarus

Moritz Lazarus was born in the prussian province of Poznan (Posen) in 1824. He attended school in his hometown Filhene and also received a business training.

Growing up in a well-educated jewish family, Lazarus not only obtained knowledge in Hebrew literature and history. He also studied Law, Philology and Philosophy in Berlin. Johann Friedrich Herbart, a philosopher, psychologist and educationist was among his teachers. Lazarus graduated in 1850.

Lazarus' growing interest in psychology became visible through a number of publications on ethno-psychology (Völkerpsychologie) during the following years. Moreover, Lazarus took up a professorship at the university in Berne in 1859 and became head chairman of its Department of Philosophy in 1864.

In 1867 Lazarus moved to Berlin and began lecturing on Philosophy at the Prussian Army Academy. Seven years later he took up a professorship at the Berlin University.

Furthemore, Lazarus was co-founder of the journal on ethno-psychology (Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie; since1891: Zeitschrift des Vereins für Volkskunde) and advocated the rights of Jewish people. His impact on the intellectual life was considerable, since sociologists like Georg Simmel claimed to be influenced by Lazarus.

Moritz Lazarus died in Meran (today: Italy) in 1903.

(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in March 2012, based on wikipedia)

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