The theology of Hermann Adler
in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
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This chapter argues that Hermann Adler's religious policies were motivated by his religious ideas. It utilizes the material to discern Adler's attitudes to the essential issues of Jewish belief, notably the Torah, Written and Oral, and the authority of Jewish Law (halakhah). The chapter looks at issues which were of great importance to Adler as a leader of emancipated Jewry in western Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The issues are the relationship between Jews and non-Jews and religions other than Judaism, the role of secular learning and modern methods in Jewish learning, and Zionism. Adler's theology was a fusion of highly traditional beliefs and scholarly methods, and a more modernised approach that included openness to non-Jewish culture, Wissenschaft des Judenums, and a Westernised aesthetic. Adler argued that British Jews were loyal only to Britain, thus disproving Goldwin Smith's contention and protecting the position of British Jews.


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