An upbringing in the WASP enclaves of suburban Boston gave Arthur D. Ullian an early taste of antisemitism, and later sent him on a search through Judeo-Christian history for the roots of discrimination against the Jewish people.
Following a successful career in New England real estate and a life-changing accident that left him paralyzed at age 51, Arthur D. Ullian began to realize that not only did life in a wheelchair make him feel “different,” but he had always felt like an outsider to some degree. This sent him on a multi-year research project investigating antisemitism from the New Testament to the Inquisition to the Holocaust. He came to see that over the course of his life he had, paradoxically, internalized the prevailing Christian view of the “Jewish character” and unconsciously attempted to replicate the social and material trappings of those who excluded him. From the world of private schools, cotillion classes, sailing yachts, and restricted clubs to the Halls of Congress where he successfully advocated for medical research with Christopher Reeve, Ullian’s life is one that illustrates the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, or “Repair the World.” In Matthew, Mark, Luke, John . . . and Me—a thoughtful, historically-grounded, and often humorous memoir—he interweaves personal experience with his exploration of the roots of stereotypes, ending with reasons to hope that historic Jewish–Christian enmities will fade and brotherhood prevail.
Rabbi and American Jewish University professor
Arthur D. Ullian has written a powerful, moving and charming book about his life-long struggle as a Jew in a deeply gentile world. He has also written an informed and insightful study of Christianity and its fraught relationship with Jews and Judaism over the past 1700 years… The work offers a deeply personal insight into a very special man in the world that shaped him. Not the least of its virtues is that the book also provides an accessible history of Christian antisemitism, with all of its social and economic repercussions, which sends an important message in an age of rising tribalism and hatred.
Past President of the Board and Executive Director of Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior
I found myself mesmerized by this bold memoir, which details both the cultural and physical challenges experienced by Arthur Ullian from boyhood to maturity, and his life-long effort to make sense of two thousand years of Christian animosity toward Jews. In his tender and revealing descriptions of prep school, marriage, fatherhood, mid-life paralysis, and advocacy for medical research, I found a passionate soul inviting us to ‘walk in his shoes’ as he journeys through the painful and often horrific past of antisemitism, and still imagines a future of greater fellowship and justice.
President of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, 1987-2018
When I discuss these times in my classes, Jewish students have no memory of this history and find it hard to even imagine. Arthur Ullian brings those times to life with his painfully honest, sometimes funny, sometimes embarrassing, but always engaging memoir.
Arthur D. Ullian is a founding partner of the Boston Land Company, a real estate development firm. In 1991, he became paralyzed following a bicycling accident, and has since used his business and entrepreneurial skills to advocate for increased federal funding of biomedical research. His contributions in this area include testimony at numerous congressional hearings and organizing research-related educational forums and roundtables on Capitol Hill. Ullian served as president of the National Council on Spinal Cord Injury, chairman of the Task Force on Science, Healthcare & the Economy, a member of the Advisory Council to the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Harvard University Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee. He has received numerous awards and honors for his service, and has co-authored articles in several national and international peer-reviewed journals. He is married to Dora with one son Ben, his wife Anne-Marie, and two grandchildren, Otis and Seraphina.