The religiouspolicy of J.H. Hertz
E HAVE SEEN where J.H. Hertz stood on issues such as the origin of
the Pentateuch, the authority of the Oral Law and the binding force
of halakhah, although his views on these issues were not crude and he
possessed a nuanced understanding of the way Jewish Law developed.
He was very critical of less traditional views within the Jewish community, of the doctrines of other religions and of the veneration of the
moral legacy of Greece and Rome, and assailed them with sometimes
original and interesting arguments. He
The religiouspolicy of Hermann
Adler’s theological position in theory, but we can
only achieve a proper understanding of his religious position by
examining how he operated as an active religious leader, dealing with
the day-to-day management of a community. From the age of 25 until his
death 48 years later Adler served the Jewish community: as Principal of
Jews’ College (1864–65), minister of the Bayswater Synagogue (1865–
91), Delegate Chief Rabbi (1879–91) or Chief Rabbi (1891–1911).
Adler attempted to uphold his principles in the face of
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.
been willing to accept what
Henry VIII was proposing. It is in this gap between Henry’s and Arran’s
ambitions that the religiouspolicies of that year ﬂourished.
Arran’s dilemma was uncomfortably clear. He needed the English alliance,
because without it he was not strong enough to maintain his independence
from Beaton and Guise. At the least, he needed to placate English aggression
for as long as he could. But he would not and could not give the English
everything they wanted. He therefore needed to ﬁnd some other means to
bolster the alliance, or at least to spin
, was allegedly
burned simply for owning an English New Testament.40 The ban on vernacular Scripture was Alesius’ chief concern when he protested against James
V’s religiouspolicies. Cochlaeus, it seems, was a little embarrassed by the
sweeping nature of the Scottish Church’s ban, but Archbishop Dunbar of
Glasgow had no such doubts, blithely bracketing vernacular Scripture with
heresy.41 This policy may well have helped some Scots to quell the temptation to read the English New Testament. The price was that those curious
and pious souls who yielded to that temptation
law, recognising contract and privilege, and royal authority was emphasised
through arbitration between competing local parties. Religiouspolicy, taxation
and war created tensions within this polity but the new town council was determinedly loyal to the king.
The reign of Henry III began with much celebration. In September 1574,
a Te Deum was sung in the cathedral of Nantes to celebrate the king’s return
from Poland, and bonfires were lit at the city’s main crossroads.1 The arrival of
the new king was eagerly anticipated in Brittany. He was the first adult
thought contained interesting aspects. More importantly, it is impossible to understand Adler’s communal policies, to be discussed in the
next chapter, without a clear picture of his theology. I argue that, like
other Chief Rabbis, Adler’s religiouspolicies were to a great extent
motivated by his religious ideas. The way in which Adler led AngloJewry is important in understanding its religious development as a
whole, and that in turn requires an analysis of Adler’s theology.
One reason why inaccurate judgements have been made about
Hermann Adler may be the paucity of
the policing of Reformation religious
policy required parishes to assume new powers and responsibilities. In Westminster, for
example, the need to respond to changing religiouspolicy seems to have prompted the
growth of more formal self-government in St Martin’s parish. But the parishes of Westminster developed an importance far beyond that which is usually attributed to parochial organizations. Indeed, they exercised powers that were usually the preserve of civic
government in London, or of county government in other areas of the country. Each
religiouspolicy. In these texts the honest
unlearned Protestant ploughman is constantly held up as spokesperson for
religious truth against the sophisticated but corrupt learning of the papists.
The second section of the chapter develops the idea that the reign of Edward
VI represented a profound break with that of Henry VIII by examining the
work of its leading poet, Robert Crowley, and William Baldwin’s animal fable,
Beware the Cat. Thomas Wyatt’s court poetry is exemplary of Henrician
culture; it is convoluted, difficult and tortured – the perfect distillation of what
This chapter challenges the assumption prevalent in recent historiography that following Mary Stuart’s execution the godly promptly rallied around the candidacy of her son, the Protestant James VI of Scotland. Using as a case study the pamphlets by the Puritan MP Peter Wentworth, it is shown that the godly were far from convinced of James’s suitability. The king laxity towards Jesuits in Scotland and patronage of Hispanophile Catholic noblemen raised concerns about both his religious policy and personal faith. Wentworth, for one, hoped the succession would be settled by Queen-in-Parliament in what would effectively amount to election. Not until the publication of the Jesuit Robert Persons’s incendiary tract A Conference about the Next Succession (1595) which questioned James’s title and promoted that of the Spanish Infanta did Protestants of all stripes, Wentworth prominent among them, become converted to the Stuart title.