Eieren gooien met Moses Finley | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 53, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573



This article examines the long feud between ancient historians Moses Finley and Joseph Vogt on the subject of ancient slavery. Their enmity has often been attributed to differences in character or in political views. However, it is shown here that Finley’s attack was above all directed against the tradition of classical Bildung (the German ideal of self-cultivation) and against the corresponding philosophy of history that informed Vogt’s work. Because the philosophy of Bildung presupposed a linear and exclusive connection between ancient Greece and modern Germany, Finley argued that it was easily turned into an ideological weapon, most fatally so in Nazi Germany. At a time when the alt-right’s political use of classical antiquity resembles Vogt’s views, Finley’s criticism is not only topical, but it also urges ancient historians to reconsider some of their basic concepts.


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