Is your surname Durkheim?

Research the Durkheim family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

David Emile Durkheim

Birthplace: Épinal, Lorraine, France
Death: November 15, 1917 (59)
14ème, Paris, Île-de-France, France
Place of Burial: Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Moïse Durkheim and Mélanie Durkheim
Husband of Louise Julie Durkheim
Father of Marie Bella Halphen and André-Armand Durkheim
Brother of Israël Désiré Durkheim; Rosine Mauss; Joseph Félix* Durkheim and Céline Cahen

Occupation: philosophe, sociologue, professeur à la faculté des lettres de Paris, chevalier de la Légion d'honneur
Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
Last Updated:

About Emile Durkheim

Émile Durkheim was born in Épinal in Lorraine, coming from a long line of devout French Jews; his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had been rabbis. At an early age, he decided not to follow in his family's rabbinical footsteps. Durkheim himself would lead a completely secular life. Much of his work, in fact, was dedicated to demonstrating that religious phenomena stemmed from social rather than divine factors. While Durkheim chose not to follow in the family tradition, he did not sever ties with his family or with the Jewish community. Many of his most prominent collaborators and students were Jewish, and some were blood relations. The exact influence of Jewish thought on Durkheim's work remains uncertain; some scholars have argued that Durkheim's thought is in fact a form of secularized Jewish thought, while others argue that proving the existence of a direct influence of Jewish thought on Durkheim's achievements is difficult or impossible.

A precocious student, Durkheim entered the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in 1879. The entering class that year was one of the most brilliant of the nineteenth century and many of his classmates, such as Jean Jaurès and Henri Bergson would go on to become major figures in France's intellectual history.

view all

Emile Durkheim's Timeline

April 15, 1858
Épinal, Lorraine, France
September 8, 1888
Age 30
Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France
September 18, 1892
Age 34
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
November 15, 1917
Age 59
Paris, Île-de-France, France
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France