Britain's Chief Rabbis were attempting to respond to the new religious climate, and deployed a variety of tactics to achieve their aims. This book presents a radical new interpretation of Britain's Chief Rabbis from Nathan Adler to Immanuel Jakobovits. It examines the theologies of the Chief Rabbis and seeks to reveal and explain their impact on the religious life of Anglo-Jewry. The book begins with the study of Nathan Marcus Adler, Chief Rabbi from 1845, and it then explores how in 1880 Hermann Adler became Delegate Chief Rabbi on his father's semi-retirement to Brighton. In the pre-modern era, and for a while after, rabbis saw themselves and were seen as the heirs of the rabbinic tradition, whose role first and foremost was to rule on matters of religious law. The book argues that the Chief Rabbis' response to modernity should be viewed in the context of Jewish religious responses that emerged following the Enlightenment and Emancipation. It sketches out a possible typology of those responses, so that Chief Rabbis can be placed in that context. Chief Rabbis were members of the acknowledgement school, which contained a number of different theological currents: romantic, scientific, aesthetic and nostalgic. Hermann Adler was the Chief Rabbi during his time, and his religious policies were to a great extent motivated by his religious ideas. Joseph Herman Hertz's theology placed him in the traditional group within the acknowledgement school, although he was influenced by its scientific, romantic and aesthetic branches.

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commentaries and rulings by subsequent generations of rabbis, who exercised a great deal of flexibility and creativity in their interpretations. Great figures such as Maimonides and R. Yosef Karo codified these legal conclusions in collections, which became authoritative, and were in turn commented upon, most significantly by R. Moses Isserles who – by adding glosses stating Ashkenazi custom – made the Shulhan Arukh acceptable to both Sefardi and Ashkenazi Jews.1 In the pre-modern era, and for a while after, rabbis saw themselves and were seen as the heirs of this rabbinic

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970

The face is a vital site of embodied emotional display. By examining descriptions of facial pallor in a range of Chaucer’s works, Downes explores the poet’s representation of the face as an affective text, which launches an interpretative challenge to both the medieval and the modern reader of fiction, as well as deepening our understanding of cultural expressions of feeling in the pre-modern era.

in Contemporary Chaucer across the centuries

understanding of the individual and his place in the world – one that was no longer cemented by a traditional cosmic order based on divine authority. Instead, the individual was seen as autonomous and self-determining, and as having essential moral and rational capacities that would emancipate him from arbitrary political authority and religious mystification. The metaphysical foundationalism that characterised the pre-modern era gave way to a belief in the universality of reason and the unlimited capacities of humanity. Man replaced God, and reason and morality supplanted

in Unstable universalities
Subjectivity and identity

the sociology of experience The attempt to re-articulate what has become increasingly disassociated (reason and subjectivity) thus involves a return to the idea of modernity.3 The end of the pre-modern era implied the replacement of the divine principle with both the impersonal law of science and the ‘I’ of the subject. The Subject is defined by Touraine as follows: The Subject is the desire of an individual to act and to be recognised as an actor . . . The Subject represents the shift from the Id to I, towards control over one’s life, so that it has a personal sense

in Identities, discourses and experiences
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Pathologising security through Lacanian desire

technique of mortality effacement. By engaging with literature from sociological and historical studies of death practice, we argued that death, security and the emergence of modern rationalism are connected. Death was not perceived as terrible in the pre-modern era; rather it only took on those social characteristics during the rise of rationalism and modernity. Why? Working with the history of death in Western Europe

in Death and security

Catholicism’ may obscure more than it reveals. Do changes of the kind described above actually represent the death of Catholicism in Ireland or rather the unravelling of the Devotional Revolution Catholicism constructed after the Great Famine (1845–​50)? And if that Devotional Revolution Catholicism is now in free fall, might some different version of Catholicism emerge in its place? After all, the Catholicisms of the pre-​modern era, the Counter-​Reformation, the Penal Law and pre-​Famine era, and of the Devotional Revolution period were of quite different character, and

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
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perspective it is not pacifism but just war theory that appears (hopelessly) contingent: contingent upon a time when the physical and political limits of war made its moral limitation appear feasible. Moral theorists were misled into thinking that war could be subject to moral regulation by the fact that war in a pre-­modern era was, militarily and politically speaking, inclined to be limited. That illusion has been shattered once and for all. Just war theory is not even out of date. Right from the start it misperceived the nature of war, confusing objective or factual

in The ethics of war
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William Blake's Gothic relations

the same time, Jerusalem is one figure for a pervasive and a priori process descriptive of all existence. To appreciate the Gothic in Jerusalem , is only to recognise what we have always been, before, as Blake would have it, the disciplinary regimes of classical and neo-classical thought obscured it. What is revolutionary about the Blakean Gothic's break from the past is also, paradoxically, its return to a pre-modern era that signals

in William Blake's Gothic imagination

and Islamic Studies 30 (1991), 305. See Khaled Abou El Fadl, Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001). During the formative period of Islamic law (the first three Islamic centuries or the seventh to the tenth centuries AD), the charge of apostasy was typically invoked in cases in which the authority of a state legitimated by religion was challenged by seditious conduct that included collective abdication of the Islamic faith. In the pre-modern era as a whole, charges of apostasy were rarely brought against private individuals

in ‘War on terror’