Religion and the Individual: A Jewish Perspective, Louis Jacobs (Cambridge University Press 1992) xii +163pp, £27.95 hbk One of the series of Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions, this monograph examines the significance of the individual in the Jewish tradition. Jacobs quotes extensively from the Mishnah, Talmud and rabbinic literature in order to demonstrate that, in addition to the tradition’s obvious and continuing concern with the ... Continue Reading ➨
Religion and the Individual
This study demonstrates that, for all the admitted emphasis on peoplehood within Judaism, there are equally strong individualistic tendencies. Dr. Jacobs maintains that in any balanced view of Judaism it must be shown that what the individual does with his life has eternal significance for that same individual, not only for the Jewish people as a whole. Through a careful analysis of the primary texts, Jacobs conducts a thorough survey of some of the most important instances where the individual is discussed in the Jewish religious tradition. His aim is not to elevate individualism at the expense of the Jewish community, but to show that Judaism pivots centrally neither on the people nor on the individual; each needs to be taken equally into account if a balanced opinion of both is to be formed.
Originally published in Church Times, 13th March 1992. LOUIS JACOBS is one of our greatest Jewish scholars, and his prolific output is all the more remarkable in view of a lifetime spent as a congregational rabbi. Rabbi Jacobs’s latest book is a study of the role of the individual in Judaism. Jacobs’s thesis is that today we tend to stress the communal dimension of Judaism, and that it is therefore important to rectify the balance by ... Continue Reading ➨
Originally published in The Expository Times 104:3 (December 1992). Of the two books under review, Chaim Nussbaum’s Semblance and Reality: Messianism in Biblical Perspective (Ktav , $16.95, pp. 156. ISBN 0-88125-385-5) and Louis Jacob’s Religion and the Individual: a Jewish Perspective (Cambridge University Press , £27.95/$44.95, pp. 163, ISBN 0-521-41138-6), the first engages the heart, the second the head. Rabbi Nussbaum ... Continue Reading ➨