A Skirball Academy Class

Martin Kaufman

The Banality of Evil:

Hannah Arendt’s

Eichmann in Jerusalem

In the spring of 1961, The New Yorker sent political philosopher Hannah Arendt to Jerusalem to cover the trial of the organizer of the mass deportation of European Jews to Nazi death camps. To the shock of her readers, Arendt concluded that Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann was not the monster most imagined. Rather, he was “terribly and terrifyingly normal.”

In this course, we will read Arendt’s compilation of her reports, Eichmann in Jerusalem, and explore her argument that those who commit monstrous acts are not necessarily psychopaths, that many act from a certain thoughtlessness rooted in the distortions of reality endemic to totalitarian mythology, a provocative insight that led to her groundbreaking and controversial work about the banality of evil.

All readings will be from Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem.

The book is included in the price of the class.

 

The Harrison S. Kravis Course in Jewish Studies

 

Mondays, 6:30 – 8:00 PM

October 26
November 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Free | Friends of Streicker*
$120

*Friends of Streicker program information

Martin Kaufman is a Yeshiva University–educated global consultant within the financial and natural resource sectors. He has lectured extensively in adult education programs in the New York area and has taught at the Skirball Academy for many years.

Mondays, 6:30 – 8:00 PM

October 26
November 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Free | Friends of Streicker*
$120

*Friends of Streicker program information

In the spring of 1961, The New Yorker sent political philosopher Hannah Arendt to Jerusalem to cover the trial of the organizer of the mass deportation of European Jews to Nazi death camps. To the shock of her readers, Arendt concluded that Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann was not the monster most imagined. Rather, he was “terribly and terrifyingly normal.”

In this course, we will read Arendt’s compilation of her reports, Eichmann in Jerusalem, and explore her argument that those who commit monstrous acts are not necessarily psychopaths, that many act from a certain thoughtlessness rooted in the distortions of reality endemic to totalitarian mythology, a provocative insight that led to her groundbreaking and controversial work about the banality of evil.

All readings will be from Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem.

The book is included in the price of the class.

 

The Harrison S. Kravis Course in Jewish Studies

 

Martin Kaufman is a Yeshiva University–educated global consultant within the financial and natural resource sectors. He has lectured extensively in adult education programs in the New York area and has taught at the Skirball Academy for many years.