I’ll start my regular update with a highly symbolic figure: 22. What is the significance of this number? Or, in more familiar terms, who knows 22? The answer is very simple. Some of you might recall the blogpost I sent in March last year, in which I mentioned the following:
“of all the 478 book chapters, journal articles, reviews, encyclopedia entries, and published lectures listed in the Bibliography . . . 267 are yet to be located and uploaded.”
Thankfully, we have not stood idle over the past 11 months, and indeed, of the 267 entries which needed to be located, all but 22 are now on the website! Yes, that’s me giving myself a pat on the shoulder. And rest assured, it won’t be long before those remaining few are also uploaded.
To continue with the encyclopedia entries I mentioned in last month’s email, I have now finished uploading the final Encyclopedia Judaica entries, including one on the Reading of the Shema, and even more importantly, the entry on Theology! I really recommend reading through the latter, a historical sketch of themes raised in Jewish thought spanning from the Bible to the modern period. One brief, amusing note: I kept wondering, while editing the piece, if Louis Jacobs would mention himself among the numerous significant theologians and philosophers who appear in the article, and if so, how prominently. The answer to the first question is, yes. The answer to the second: not very – only in one sentence. Why? I wish I could have been present alongside Jacobs while he was writing the piece in order to answer that question.
Alongside these encyclopedia entries, I recently uploaded several articles. I’ll draw your attention here to two of them, both obituaries for close connections of Rabbi Jacobs’s. The first, Gershom Scholem, he felt intellectually close to, heavily indebted to Scholem’s pioneering work on hasidism. The second addresses a man he held in the highest esteem, as a friend: Louis Littman. The feelings Jacobs conveys in these pieces, particularly the latter, are stirring, and contrast with the scholarly detachment which characterize his academic work.
I’ve also added quite a few entries to the section of the website collecting reviews of Jacobs’s books written by fellow academics or rabbis. We can appreciate that his works reached beyond the confines of the academic or the Jewish community strictly speaking, as the following reviews by Norman Bentwich (British barrister and legal academic, and appointed attorney-general of Mandatory Palestine) and H. H. Rowley (an English, Baptist Bible scholar) will testify. Similarly, the praises he earned from such distinguished colleagues in the field of Jewish Studies as Geza Vermes, David Novak, or Jakob Petuchowski showcase the respect he earned among academics.
One final comment to close this blog post: many of you attended the lecture we hosted with Prof. William Kolbrener (from Bar-Ilan University) last week, and we hope you found the discussion stimulating! For those who were not able to make, fear not! The recording will be available very shortly on the website for you to view at your convenience.
All the best,