John Moses, husband of former UNE Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ingrid Moses, has passed away in his 94th year. 

A noted historian and priest, Rev Dr John Moses was born in Atherton, Queensland in 1930. He studied for his Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of Queensland before moving to Germany where he completed his PhD at the University of Erlangen in 1965. After returning to Australia, he taught at the University of Queensland for many years, including a term as head of the History Department from 1986 to 1994. He also taught history at UNE and was active in the cathedral parish of Armidale for ten years. He has published works on German and trade union history and was editor of The Australian Journal of Politics and History. He became a priest in the Anglican Church of Australia in 1978.

At UNE, John Moses was an Adjunct Professor in the then School of Classics, History and Religion (CHR). Professor Frank Bongiorno recalled that John contributed to modern modern European history and that he ran the Trevenna seminar, on the history of war, with Iain Spence. This seminar resulted in a book: John A. Moses and Christopher Pugsley (eds), The German Empire and Britain’s Pacific Dominions, 1871-1919: Essays on the Role of Australia and New Zealand in World Politics in the Age of Imperialism, Claremont, CA: Regina Books, 2000.

John Moses was highly respected and will be missed. His funeral will be held on Friday, 7 June at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Griffith at 11.00 am 

Emeritus Professor Howard Brasted 

“John Moses contributed to the Honours program  when I was the long-term co-ordinator of Honours and around about 2000 when I had a period of study leave he took over this role for the year in question .

His friend, the eminent historian Georg  G. Iggers from Buffalo university, who shared an interest in German history, and who had just published Historiography in the twentieth century. From scientific objectivity to the postmodern challenge (1997) – which was used as one of the set texts –  joined him in this venture. Iggers too was on study leave and spent some of it at the UNE because of John.

I was lucky enough to attend a couple of the seminars they ran. These seminars were ‘taped’ and so survive somewhere in my room.

The dates are probably inaccurate, but as David Kent had posted on his door ‘The Facts may be wrong but the story is True’.”

Professor Richard Scully

“Vale John Anthony Moses (10 June 1930—30 May 2024)

The AAEH is saddened to learn of the death of Emeritus Professor the Reverend John Anthony Moses, who passed away peacefully on 30 May 2024. Born in 1930 in Atherton, QLD, John earned his BA (1959) and MA (1963) at the University of Queensland, before completing his PhD at the University of Erlangen in West Germany (1965). While at Erlangen, he not only met his future wife, Ingrid, but experienced first-hand the fallout from the ‘Fischer Controversy’ occasioned by the publication of Griff nach der Weltmacht(1961) and was ideally placed to convey the enormity of this back to Australia, significantly shaping contemporary understandings of German history and historiography. John returned to the University of Queensland as a Lecturer (1965-1969), Senior Lecturer (1970-1975), and Reader (1975-1986); becoming Professor and head of the history department from 1986.

Visiting the University of Sydney in 1969, John was among the founding members of the Australian Society for European History (ASEH), the precursor to the AAEH. At a forum that included R. J. B. Bosworth, Barrie Rose, Geoffrey Bolton, and Patrick Collinson, John presented a paper on “Hegel and German Historiography” – the first of many that would culminate in his 2019 keynote at the AAEH’s golden jubilee conference. As Richard Bosworth recalled, the committed Moses was certainly the scholar who “agitated” most strongly for “an association of historians of Europe”, and John was a true founder and a stalwart of the AAEH in many ways. He was elected its second-ever President in 1977, following the success of his book The Politics of Illusion: The Fischer Controversy in German Historiography (1975). Via this superb, brief synthesis of a very involved issue, and through his other work, he managed to raise ongoing concerns with the ideological baggage of the historical profession more broadly. With Paul M. Kennedy and other scholars, he worked towards an understanding of Germany in the Pacific and Far East (1977), as well as building on his greatest area of expertise and interest: trade unionism in Germany in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century. His two-volume study of Trade Unionism in Germany from Bismarck to Hitler appeared in 1982.

As AAEH President, John convened the 1979 conference at UQ, which he ensured was named in honour of the late Associate Professor Ernest Kohn Bramsted – a formative influence on European History in Australia. John was elected President a second time, and managed the 1986 conference, leveraging his status as Editor of the Australian Journal of Politics and History to produce the first collection of AAEH papers at the end of 1988 (and drawn from the 1987 conference). An associate editor of the AJPH since 1969, John had succeeded founding editor Gordon Greenwood in 1984, and took the publication to new heights of sophistication.

Ordained a priest in the Anglican Church of Australia (1978), John was also a professorial associate at St Mark’s National Theological Centre in Canberra (2007-2024). His faith helped drive yet another aspect of his academic career, which bore fruit in particular with The Reluctant Revolutionary: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Collision with Prusso-German History (2009). His work on Bonhoeffer was completed largely while he was affiliated with the University of New England, Armidale, where his wife Professor Ingrid Moses, AO was Vice-Chancellor (1997-2006).

John is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Professor Ingrid Moses, AO (Chancellor of the University of Canberra, 2006-2010) – and their sons Dirk and Rolf (Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of Political Science, City College of New York, and CEO, Queensland Law Society, 2018-2024, respectively).”

Professor Thomas Fudge

“John was trained for the Anglican priesthood at St Francis College in Brisbane. He was active in the cathedral parish of Armidale for ten years where he was a firm defender of traditional Anglicanism, theologically and in churchmanship, and an outspoken opponent of evangelicalism. He took no fewer than 100 services at St Mary’s, West Armidale where he was a much-loved priest. His homilies were well-received. In the year before his death he released an autobiographical reflection: Looking over the Fence: Reflections and Reminiscences of an Historian’s Journey from the Australian Bush to a Wider World (Melbourne: Arcadia, 2023). His final book, Combatting Totalitarianism: The Legacies of St. Paul and Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the Collapse of the “Murderous Utopias” of Communism and National Socialism, was released two weeks before his death by Wipf & Stock Publishers in the United States. In the weeks prior to his death he published spirited reviews of two recent books written by Peter Carnley, former Anglican Archbishop of Perth and Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, in his local parish paper and offered an equally robust endorsement of Thomas A. Fudge’s recent study Darkness: The Conversion of Anglican Armidale, 1960-2019 in which John is mentioned more than 100 times.”

Professor Ingrid Moses was Vice-Chancellor of UNE from 1997 to 2005.