Romanian philosopher Mihai Șora dies at 106

Romanian philosopher and writer Mihai Șora passed away on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at the age of 106, according to the announcement posted on his official Facebook account by his wife, Luiza Palanciuc-Șora. He was among the longest-living Romanians personalities and among the most active in Romania’s social, political and cultural life.

Sora had turned 106 on November 7, 2022. Extremely active on social networks, Șora was always present at the protests in Victory Square from 2017-2018.

Born on November 7, 1916 in Ianova, Remetea Mare, Timiș, during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Mihai Șora was a philosopher and essayist, founding member of the Social Dialogue Group, the Civic Alliance and the Romanian Society of Phenomenology.

He attended the “C. Diaconovici-Loga” High School in Timisoara (1927-1934), then the Faculty of Letters of the University of Bucharest (1934-1938), according to the “Dictionary of Romanian Writers”. He had as teachers, among others, Mircea Vulcănescu and Nae Ionescu, according to Radio Romania Cultural.

In 1939, he became a philosophy student at the Sorbonne, receiving a scholarship from the French government, then, due to the German occupation, he continued his studies at the University of Grenoble (1940-1945), preparing his doctoral thesis here on the work of Blaise Pascal. He then settled in Paris, being appointed a trainee researcher at the Center National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, Department of Philosophy (1945-1948).

He debuted at Gallimard with Du dialogue intérieur. Fragment d’une anthropologie métaphysique in 1947. The book had echoes among great French philosophical personalities. He refused the French citizenship that was offered to him immediately after the book appeared at Gallimard.

Sora returned to the country in 1948 and was forced to stay, according to the cited source. He worked as a clerk in the Press Service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1948-1950), then he was head of the literary editorial office of the Foreign Language Publishing House attached to the Romanian Institute for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (1951-1954), editor- head of the “Literary Heritage” section of the State Publishing House for Literature and Art, where he resumes the “Biblioteca pentru toti/Library for All” series, “Scriitori romani/Romanian Writers” etc. (1954-1969), as well as head of the Libraries service in within the Ministry of Education (1970-1977), from where he retired.

He was the first Minister of Education after the fall of the communist regime, being part of the government led by Petre Roman. He resigned from his position in protest against the mining raids of June 13-15, 1990, then refusing to hold any more positions in the state administration.

Mihai Șora was one of the vocal opponents of the changes to the justice laws that sparked the 2017–2018 protests, often joining the demonstrators despite his advanced age.

Sora was married for 72 years to Mariana Sora, also a Romanian writer, essayist and literary critic (who died in 2011), with whom he had three children. Since 2014 Sora had been married to philosophy researcher and writer Luiza Palanciuc.

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