You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.

May 10: Ariel Durant

Lawrence Bush
May 10, 2010

durant_awAriel Durant (Chaya Kaufman), the Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author of volumes 8-10 of The Story of Civilization, was born on this date in the Ukraine in 1898. At age 15 she married Will Durant (“my teacher, lover, mentor and friend”), who was her teacher at the anarchistic Ferrer Modern School in New York. He resigned from his teaching post to marry her; she arrived at City Hall for the wedding on roller skates. The Durants delivered philosophy and “high culture” to their generation through their popularly written histories, which sold millions of copies. Ariel brought to the collaboration a hungry mind, an outgoing personality, and a bohemian and feminist sensibility. They received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.

You were stationary, you had to sit all the time; you had to read the words of books, the great knowledge in the world, and I had to go out and meet people, gather adventures and bring every kind of personality to you. . . . I was the adventure in your life and I brought you this life, and you . . . educated me; you quieted my wild blood.” —Ariel Durant (speaking on recording to her husband)

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.