Here is a second blog post from the Louis Jacobs Project editor, reviewing some of the exciting news and events which took place in the last month…
And what a busy month of February it’s been so far! Where should I start? A host of new documents have been uploaded on the website — over 90 altogether! The ‘Reviews’ section, at the beginning of January, only contained 16 book reviews written by Louis Jacobs. We now have nearly 100 (and many more to come)! Ivor recently told me that his father loved writing book reviews since, as a bonus, he would receive free copies for his own private collection! Having seen the size of his personal library as an undergraduate in Oxford (he donated his collection to the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies), I now appreciate how so many remarkable works made their way onto his shelves. Most of these book reviews are quite superficial; some of them, however, are much more detailed and critical (see, for example, the reviews of Isaac Breuer’s Concepts of Judaism or David Weiss-Halivni’s Midrash, Mishnah and Gemara). Once again, the range of subjects they cover — spanning from Second Temple Jewish history to contemporary theology — is indicative of Rabbi Jacobs’ remarkable erudition.
Several important articles have also been added to the website. Louis Jacobs wrote several pieces for the ‘Current Theological Literature’ section in Judaism: A Quarterly Journal, which I found remarkably interesting. They often include discussions on recent works on Jewish and non-Jewish subjects in the field of theology. The one on ‘Prayer‘, which I found particularly inspiring, starts by reviewing an exchange between Eugene Kohn and Abraham Joshua Heschel, respectively defending religious naturalism and supernaturalism in relation to prayer; it then moves on to discuss the works of Peter R. Baelz, Douglas Rhymes, and D.I. Phillips, three non-Jewish theologian, on prayer and spirituality; before moving back to Jewish authors with an article in the 1967 CCAR Yearbook by the great Jakob Petuchowski entitled ‘Can Modern Man Pray?’ and a review of a variety of recent Hebrew works on the topic. A fascinating piece!
A number of additional articles are worth mentioning, this time in the ‘About’ section. Pieces by Ignaz Maybaum (Minister Emeritus of the Edgware and District Reform Synagogue) and William Frankel (former editor of the Jewish Chronicle); an official statement by Isaac Wolfson (former President of the United Synagogue); and the first Constitution of the New London Synagogue all constitute important primary sources on the Jacobs Affair, and should prove valuable to anyone interested in tracing back the events which led to the crisis in Anglo-Jewry. Here too, there’s more to come!
Of course, Elie Jesner also offered another brilliant session last week for the Honest Theology Project on ‘Why Might we Keep Halakha?’. In spite of the terrible weather, the event was attended by over 40 people and proved very successful. You couldn’t make it? Don’t worry, the lecture was recorded and can been viewed online. Look out for the next session, ‘Can Jewish Theology Cope with a Return to Zion?’, on 17th April (and for which bookings are already open, here)!
I still have several articles to put online over this weekend, and many more in the next few weeks! But in the meantime, we wish you all a shavua tov from the Louis Jacobs Project team!
For information or feedback, please go to our contact page and get in touch.