A ceremony celebrating Prof. Arnold I. Davidson's induction into the Ordre des Palmes Académiques as an Officier took place on Monday, November 4, 2013, at the Franke Institute for the Humanities.
Founded by Emperor Napoleon, this honor is bestowed by the French government upon eminent figures in education and academia. Mr. Graham Paul, Consul General of France in Chicago, presented the medal to Prof. Davidson and welcomed him into the prestigious order.
Professor Davidson was named to the rank of Officer in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques in recognition of his contribution to the promotion of French culture. Entering with the rank of Officer means that Prof. Davidson enters this prestigious chivalric order with special distinction. The 'Order of Academic Palms' is an Order of Chivalry of France for academics and cultural and educational figures, comprised of three ranks (Knight, Officer, and Commander). It was founded as a reward for devotion and accomplishment in the realm of teaching, scholarship, and research. Later, it was extended to non-French citizens to acknowledge their promotion of French language or significant achievement in the field of education.
Davidson is the Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Philosophy, Comparative Literature, Romance Languages and Literatures, and in the Divinity School (Philosophy of Religions and Philosophy of Judaism). He is also on the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science. He is interested in the historical and systematic relationships between philosophy and theology and has written about twentieth-century European philosophy and theology, as well as on the history of philosophy and theology. He is especially interested in the tradition of spiritual exercises and the related ideas of philosophy and religion as a way of life and moral perfectionism.
Professor Davidson is pictured at the ceremony with Divinity School colleagues Michael Fishbane, Nathan Cummings Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Studies, and Margaret M. Mitchell, Dean and Shailer Mathews Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature.