Reflecting on Hannah Arendt and Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the Banality of Evil

Peter Burdon, Gabrielle Appleby, Rebecca LaForgia, Joe McIntyre, Ngaire Naffine

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this essay, we offer a modern legal reading of Hannah Arendt’s classic book, Eichmann in Jerusalem. First we provide a brief account of how Arendt came to write Eichmann in Jerusalem and explain her central arguments and observations. We then consider the contemporary relevance of Arendt’s work to us as legal academics engaged with a variety of problems arising from our times. We consider Arendt’s writing of Eichmann in Jerusalem as a study in intellectual courage and academic integrity, as an important example of accessible political theory, as challenging the academic to engage in participatory action, and as informing our thinking about judgement when we engage in criminal law reform. Finally, we consider the role of Arendt’s moral judgement for those within government today and how it defends and informs judgement of the modern bureaucrat at a time of heightened government secrecy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)427-447
    Number of pages21
    JournalAdelaide Law Review
    Issue number35
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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