Ernest Becker


Biography of Ernest Becker

Ernest Becker (September 27, 1924 – March 6, 1974) was a cultural anthropologist and interdisciplinary scientific thinker and writer. He is noted for his 1974 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Denial of Death.

Becker was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Jewish immigrant parents. After completing military service, in which he served in the infantry and helped to liberate a Nazi concentration camp, he attended Syracuse University in New York. Upon graduation he joined the US Embassy in Paris as an administrative officer. In his early 30s, he returned to Syracuse University to pursue graduate studies in cultural anthropology. He completed his Ph.D. in 1960. The first of his nine books, Zen: A Rational Critique (1961) was based on his doctoral dissertation. After Syracuse, he became a professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

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