Steven Ozment in the News


OZMENT SPEAKS: The Jewish Question: To Convert, and if so, Why?

The Weekly Standard, 25 February 2008.

Review of Deborah Hertz, How Jews Became Germans: The History of Conversion and Assimilation in Berlin (Yale University Press, 2007).

There is no book more exciting to read than one by an author who believes he or she was born to write it. In such books every line becomes a paragraph, every paragraph a chapter, and the book itself a never-ending story. Deborah Hertz's How Jews Became Germans is such a book.

To read the whole article at, click here.


OZMENT SPEAKS: Diminishing Europe: The good life in Germany does not include children

The Weekly Standard, 8 October 2007.

A saying from the German Middle Ages suggests that a couple who cannot have children may be more burdened than a couple who do have children:

Die Kinder machen Weh und Leid Zerstören offt der Elter Frewd, Kein Kindt/Kein Sorg/klag nit so sehr ob schon dein Weib nicht Kindbar wer.
(Children bring grief and woe and often disturb parental peace: 'no child, no worry.' So do not complain so much just because your wife cannot bear a child.)

Historically, couples without children have, indeed, grieved. Although birth control has been practiced since antiquity, barren couples viewed themselves as truly cursed, like Hannah in the Bible (1 Sam. 1). Yet for almost a half-century a great many postwar European families have enthusiastically embraced either a "no-child" or a "no-more-than-one-child" family model.

To read the whole article at, click here.


OZMENT SPEAKS: Von Glauben Abgefallen

Die Welt, 20 September 2007.

Den Deutschen fehlt die religiöse und spirituelle Bindung. Sie wuNnschen sich ein ungebundenes Leben. Doch jene, die Kinder großziehen haben eine viel wichtigere Aufgabe in der Gesellschaft. Deutschland sollte sich auf seine Werte zurückbesinnen. Kinder sollten wieder Spaß machen.

To read the whole article at, click here.


OZMENT SPEAKS: Die FuNnf Besten BuNcher

These works excel in their portraits of Germany and the German people.

The Wall Street Journal, 23 June 2007.

1. "The Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples" by Herwig Wolfram (University of California, 1997).

Why do thousands of Germans annually visit the 19th-century monument near Detmold honoring the first-century barbarian prince Arminius? Herwig Wolfram explains all. Arminius was the first barbarian to defeat Roman legions, and in his life and deeds one finds the first stirrings of the "German people" among polyglot tribes migrating to the borders of the Roman Empire. At this time, barbarians served Rome as the members of federated armies and as agricultural workers, the talented becoming Roman citizens. By the fourth century, crack Germanic warriors occupied virtually every senior military post in the Roman army. As the Romans were "barbarized," the barbarians were "Romanized." The resulting mix of Roman, Christian and Germanic cultures lay at the heart of what became the German nation. ...

For Ozment's other four choices, visit's OpinionJournal here.


NEWS: Steven Ozment gives Edmondson Lectures at Baylor University

On 7-8 March 2007, Steven Ozment gave the annual Charles Edmondson Lectures at Baylor University:

7 March: "Lucas Cranach, the Elder in Art and History," 7:00 PM
8 March: "Lucas Cranach's Ladies," 2:00 PM

To view past Edmondson lecturers, visit the Baylor History Department website here.


NEWS: Steven Ozment speaks at Duke University

On 6 March 2007 Steven Ozment spoke at Duke University on "Lucas Cranach in History, Art, and Religion." The talk was sponsored by the Duke Divinity School and the Duke Center of Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

For more information, visit the Duke CMRS website here.


NEWS: Steven Ozment featured in two panels at the AHA

Steven Ozment was featured in two sessions of the 2007 American Historical Association/ American Church History Association meeting, 5-7 January 2007, Atlanta, GA:

5 January: "Steven E. Ozment: A Retrospective Appreciation of Scholarly Achievement"
Including Ronald Rittgers (Valparaiso), Christopher Brown (Boston University), Carlos Eire (Yale University), and Laura Smoller (University of Arkansas)
Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Piedmont Room, 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM

6 January: "Is the Reformation Over? An Evangelical Assessment of Contemporary Roman Catholicism - Roundtable with Mark A. Noll"
Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Kennesaw Room, 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM

To learn more about attending the AHA meeting, click here.


NEWS: Steven Ozment at Arkansas Author's Day

Steven Ozment, a native Arkansan, participated in the first "Arkansas Author's Day" at River Market Books, headquarters of the Central Arkansas Library System, on 11 November 2006. His books A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People and The BuNrgermeister's Daughter: Scandal in a 16th-Century German Town were featured.

To learn more about Steven Ozment's books, click here.


NEWS: A Mighty Fortress now available in German translation

A Mighty Fortress has been translated into German by Robert Grözinger and published by Manuscriptum.

To learn more about Steven Ozment's books, click here.


OZMENT SPEAKS: The German Problem

The Weekly Standard, 19 June 2006.

Review of Wolf Lepenies, The Seduction of Culture in German History (Princeton University Press, 2006).

Wolf Lepenies, a Berlin sociologist and one of Germany's foremost intellectuals, . . . has an emphatic answer to why Germans have come so slowly and grudgingly to political unity and a democratic polity: "the catastrophic German habit" of valuing culture over politics, and even substituting it for politics. Beyond the structural/political problem that Barraclough definitively elaborated, Lepenies's study calls attention to an equally insidious cultural/moral problem that has also plagued Germans throughout their history. He calls it "the apolitical German soul."

To read the whole article at, click here.


NEWS: Ozment to teach summer course in Venice, Italy

Steven Ozment will be teaching the course "Germans and Their History: From Arminius to Angela Merkel" at the newly launched summer study program of Harvard University Summer School in Venice, Italy.

To learn about the course and how to enroll, click here.


NEWS: A new Ozment publication on the family

Steven Ozment recently contributed a chapter entitled "Inside the Preindustrial Household: The Rule of Men and the Rights of Women and Children in Late Medieval and Reformation Europe," to the interdisciplinary volume Family Transformed: Religion, Values, and Society in American Life, ed. Steven M. Tipton & John Witte, Jr. (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2005). Ozment's contribution appears on pp. 225-243.

To learn about, read the introduction of, and purchase the book from Georgetown University Press, click here.


OZMENT SPEAKS: The Miracle Cure: What an exorcist knew about human nature

The Weekly Standard, 17 October 2005.

Review of H.C. Erik Midelfort, Exorcism and Enlightenment: Johann Joseph Gassner and the Demons of Eighteenth-Century Germany (Yale University Press, 2005).

This often riveting book is a micro-historical study of credulity and reason in the German Enlightenment of the late 18th century. H.C. Erik Midelfort's subject is a short, balding, rotund Roman Catholic priest named Johann Joseph Gassner (1727-1779), who conducted spectacular and controversial exorcisms in southern Germany between 1760 and 1776.

To read the whole article at, click here.

NEWS: Steven Ozment to be Visiting Professor at Wofford College

Steven Ozment will spend the spring term, '06 as the Lewis P. Jones Visiting Professor at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC. Previous holders of that chair are Eugen Weber and William E. Leuchtenburg. Ozment will teach a course on German history and pursue his research and writing of a biography of Lucas Cranach: Lucas Cranach, the Elder: Germany's First Renaissance Man.


NEWS: Steven Ozment presented with Festschrift

On 26 August 2005, thirteen former graduate students who worked with Steven Ozment either at Yale or Harvard gathered at Piccolo Nido in Boston's North End. Also present were members of Ozment's family. Following dinner and joyful reminiscing, Ozment was presented with a volume of essays: Piety and Family in Early Modern Europe: Essays in Honor of Steven Ozment, ed. by Marc R. Forster and Benjamin J. Kaplan (Ashgate, 2005). Along with Forster and Kaplan, contributors to the volume were: Eric Lund, R. Emmet McLaughlin, Ronald K. Rittgers, Carlos M.N. Eire, D. Jonathan Grieser, Lance Gabriel Lazar, Laura A. Smoller, David Keck, and R., Po-chia Hsia.

To learn about, read the introduction of, and purchase Steven Ozment's festschrift from Ashgate, click here.


NEWS: Steven Ozment chosen to be a Walter Channing Cabot Fellow

Harvard University's Walter Channing Cabot Fellows are honored for their eminence in history, literature, or art. The Cabot Fund, established in 1905, was created in Walter Channing Cabot's memory by his wife, Elizabeth Rogers Cabot, and their children.


OZMENT SPEAKS: Fighting the Infidel: The East-West holy wars are not just history

The Weekly Standard, 4-11 July 2005.

Oxford historian Christopher Tyerman maintains that the four centuries of holy war known as the Crusades are both the best recognized and most distorted part of the Christian Middle Ages. He faults scholars, pundits, and laymen on both sides of the East-West divide for allowing the memory of the Crusades to be "woven into intractable modern political problems," where it "blurs fantasy and scholarship" and exacerbates present-day hatreds. He has in mind the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Western racism, anti-Semitism, and American-European imperialism. A prolific expert on the history of Crusades, Tyerman offers a succinct summary of what they were and were not. An evenhanded critic, he levels his lance at both sides: the Islamic and Arab apologists who trace Western imperialism and cultural aggression back to the Crusades, and the " First World liberals and neoconservatives" who demonize a complex and diverse Islamic world with no more sophistication than the crusading polemicists of the 12th and 13th centuries.

To read the whole article at, click here.


NEWS: A Mighty Fortress selected as BBC History Magazine's Book of the Month

Reviewed by Giles Macdonogh. BBC History Magazine, June 2005, p. 53f.

Ozment certainly does not forget Auschwitz in his excellent new history of Germany, but he uses his knowledge of earlier periods to present a broader portrait. . . . Evil is generally only half the story after all. Steven Ozment knows this well, and he has endeavoured to present us with the whole picture.

To visit the BBC History Magazine's website, click here.


REVIEW: Forget the War

Reviewed by Joachim Whaley. Times Literary Supplement, 17 June 2005, p. 6.

To visit the TLS's website, click here.


REVIEW: In the Wrong Place

Reviewed by Simon Kuper. Financial Times Magazine, 23 April 2005, pp. 30-31.

The idea of Germany as an involuntary traffic junction for foreigners is one of the themes of Steven Ozment's history.

To read the whole article at, click here.


REVIEW: Don't Let's be Beastly to the Germans

Reviewed by Jonathan Sumption. The Spectator, 9 April 2005.

To read the whole article at, click here.


OZMENT SPEAKS: Mehr als die zwölf Jahre

Die Welt, 6 April 2005.

Wenn es ein Volk gibt, von dem andere Völker glauben, sie verstünden es, dann sind das die Deutschen. Wenn es um die Deutschen geht, gibt es kein Halten mehr. Der Besitzer einer britischen Tageszeitung marschiert, die Deutschen parodierend, in seinem besten Stechschritt daher und fängt sich eine Beschwerde vom deutschen Außenministerium. Eine Gruppe britischer Schullehrer, die von der deutschen Regierung in der Hoffnung eingeladen worden waren, ihr Bewußtsein für deutsche Geschichte zu schärfen, kehrt in der Überzeugung nach Hause zurück, mehr denn je sei die deutsche Geschichte die Geschichte der Nazis.

To read the whole article at, click here.


REVIEW: Haunted by the Past

Reviewed by Ian Thompson. The Times, 27 March 2005.

For some, the history of Germany is largely that of Nazis and Jews. In the United States, the History Channel is popularly known as the “Hitler Channel” for its constant harping on the Führer. The mentality that judges all Germans as “Nazis” is not so different from the Hitlerite mentality that judged all Jews to be moral pariahs. National Socialism nevertheless remains the defining moment in the history of the German people.

To read the whole article at, click here.


OZMENT SPEAKS: Judging the Gist of the Germans

The Washington Times, 4 March 2005.

If there is a people other folks think they comprehend, it is the Germans. No holds are barred when talking about the Germans. In Washington, neoconservatives alternately ridicule German military weakness and expound on the "fear in everyone's mind" of a remilitarized Germany. Such discourse ignores the greater part of German history and is unfair to new German generations. Germany today has two histories.

To read the whole article at, click here.


OZMENT SPEAKS: History Shows Germans Can Beat the Odds

The Financial Times, 3 March 2005.

Germany has two histories: one that takes up most of the first half of the 20th century and one before 1900 and after 1945. The first pulls the worst qualities of Germans into the foreground so powerfully that it is easy to forget who Germans were before 1900 and who they are becoming in the post-war period. Today, Germans are grappling with seemingly insoluble problems of economic and social destiny that every nation shares and must also come to grips with. Their pre-20th century history is the best measure of whether they will be able to put their economic and social houses in order.

To read the whole article, click here.


NEWS: Granta to issue UK edition of A Mighty Fortress

Granta Magazine, Winter 2004/5.

Award-winning historian Steven Ozment gives us the fullest portrait possible of the German nation, holding a mirror up to an entire civilization - one that has been alternately Western Europe's most successful and most perilous.

To read the whole article at, click here.


OZMENT SPEAKS: Why We Study Western Civ

The Public Interest #158, Winter 2005.

For the reading public, the study of the past often seems a search for forerunners and blockers of modernity, a parade of people, ideas, and crises either lauded for having prepared the way to truths we hold to be self-evident, or excoriated for having opposed them - history as self-confirmation. The great strength of the Western Civ survey within the history curriculum is that it reads history chronologically forward, not backwards from a commanding latter-day event or popular modern theory, a strength that may excuse its sometimes plodding narrative.

To read a summary of the article, click here.


REVIEW: A Mighty Fortress

Reviewed by Jeff Gedmin. The Weekly Standard, 27 December 2004.

German history, the whole enchilada, in four hundred pages, from an obscure tribe called Cimbri in 113 BC to Gerhard Schröder, the Iraq war, and Berlin′s attempt to reform the German welfare state. Steven Ozment, a professor of ancient and modern history at Harvard University, does not write like a professor. Ozment is actually a pleasure to read.

To read the whole article at, click here.


REVIEW: Bach, Hitler, and the People Called German

Reviewed by Richard John Neuhaus. First Things #147, November 2004.

Steven Ozment has done a remarkable thing in A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People. Ozment, a professor of history at Harvard, declines to see the history of Germany through the sole prism of the Third Reich. Rather, he begins with the beginning, going back to Tacitus in the first century A.D. The early story line is that of interaction with and, later, succession to the Roman Empire.

To read the whole article at, click here.


OZMENT SPEAKS: Deutschland, du kannst es besser

Die Zeit, 22 July 2004.

Über Deutschlands Zukunft sind düstere Prognosen im Umlauf. Jüngst erst hat der britische Historiker Niall Ferguson einen Rückgang der ethnisch deutschen Bevölkerung um 18 Prozent bis zur Mitte des Jahrhunderts vorausgesagt. Eines der in Deutschland am meisten verkauften Bücher der vergangenen Monate war Gabor Steingarts Der Abstieg eines Superstars. Darin erklärt der Autor den Zusammenbruch der deutschen Volkswirtschaft innerhalb von zwei Jahren für unausweichlich, sollten im Land der kürzesten Arbeitswoche, der längsten Ferien, der großzügigsten Renten und höchsten Steuern nicht äußerst unpopuläre und seit langem aufgeschobene Reformen in die Tat umgesetzt werden.

To read the whole article at, click here.