Talk:Louis Jacobs

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Ostracised??[edit]

The phrase "completely ostracised by orthodox rabbis" is problematic. Someone attempting to elucidate it via Wikipedia would probably go to Ostracism, then Shunning, then Cherem. We really shouldn't imply a rabbi is in cherem unless we're very clear about the matter. I'm changing "completely ostracised" to "marginalised" (I hope that's correct en-GB). --Hoziron 03:58, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Re being denied Aliyah[edit]

I have removed the phrase 'on occasions this has appeared petty', because for those who understand the Orthodox position, granting someone such an honour is fraught with halakhic issues. From an orthodox point of view, The public Reading of the Torah is the fulfilment of a religious duty; as such one needs to do it in accordance of the laws as codified in the Codes of Law. Granting an Aliyah to Louis Jacobs for several reasons would not fall into these criteria.

This is highly disputable. Effectively it is a POV, as many would interpret halakhah in a quite diferent way. I have therefore once again removed your comment from the article. Please try to undertand how Wikipedia works, and refrain from giving your interpretation of a situation as indisputable. Also if you wish you regularly edit, please sign up as this makes it easier to discuss issues such as this.--Smerus 12:39, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I added "However, Orthodox law maintains that someone who denies the Divinity of the Torah may not be accorded this honour for a variety of reasons." This is true according to the conclusions of the Shulchan Aruch and its commentaries; if this is not how you are defining 'Orthodox law' (it seems to be based on the wikipedia entry) then I am happy to take suggestions as to what this should be called. If this is a good (basic) definition of Orthodox law, then I have not added a POV. I take the comment re different interpretations of halakhah; however I did try to avoid that issue. Also, to say my line was a POV and "on occasions this has appeared petty" is objective is unfair. Garry Wayland 16:32, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
You might perhaps say 'according to some definitions of orthodox law, someone who denies...' etc. But I query whether you can simply say 'this is true according to the conclusions of the Shulchan Aruch and its commentaries'. I don't have a Shulchan Aruch with me at the moment (am working abroad) but I would be surprised if you could quote me any part of it that unequivocally substantiates your comment as 'true'. Some commentaries on the SA may come to this conclusion; others may not. That is why the whole issue was one of dispute, in the columns of the Jewish Chronicle and elsewhere. The correspondence in the JC is I think objective evidence that this action 'appeared petty', at least to some. I took care not to say that it was petty. I have tried in my contributions to this article to avoid opining whether Jacobs, or those opposed to him, have been 'right' or 'wrong'. But I also think that an article on Jacobs is not the right place for a dicsussion on the laws of aliyah. Perhaps your interest might be better served by creating a Wkipedia article on aliyah laws and referencing it to and from the Louis Jacobs article, so that readers could form their own conclusions.With best regards--Smerus 06:23, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Jews' College[edit]

Could someone with the knowledge about Jews' College please start a post about it. I am very curious about its history and current state of affairs. Thank You GZee 21:05, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

  • OK started stub. Smerus 08:38, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Title "Rabbi"[edit]

I noticed that someone had removed this title from Louis's full name at the beginning of the lede. I have reinstated it as wikipedia cab do without this sort of sectarianism. (Writes someone whose move towards atheism was helped by Jacobs telling an Irish joke during a sermon during the High Holy Days.) --Peter cohen 13:08, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

DH work[edit]

This badly in need of a section that describes Jacobs attempt to reconcile the DH with tradition. If anyone has read the book it would e good if they can give a brief summary.Wolf2191 18:19, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

  • I have sought to do this - in what i hope is a non-partisan way - in a new section. Smerus 16:53, 4 October 2007 (UTC)


Contradiction[edit]

The following section doesn't make sense:

"The purpose of Jacobs’s book ‘We Have Reason to Believe’ is clearly stated in its Introduction.

   A true Jewish apologetic, eschewing obscurantism, religious schizophrenia, and intellectual dishonesty, will be based on the conviction that all truth, ‘the seals of the Holy One, blessed is He’, is one, and that a synthesis is possible between the permanent values and truth of tradition and the best thought of the day.[1]

Jacobs therefore places himself in the line of expositors from Moses Mendelssohn onwards who have sought to reconcile, or at least clearly contextualise, the concepts of Judaism with the prevalent thought and society of the modern world. "

The quote clearly states that trying to completely reconcile permanent values of truth of tradition with "the best thought of the day" - ie modern thought - is intellectual dishonesty and apologetic! How can you go on to say that "Jacobs THEREFORE...sought to reconcile...the concepts of Judaism with the prevalent thought...of the modern world". This is a striking contradiction to the quote. So, either the quote is wrong, or the paragraph underneath is completely inaccurate about the man's motives. Please can someone who has the book fix this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by LemonLion (talkcontribs) 00:42, 5 November 2007 (UTC) LemonLion 01:04, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

  • The quotation is accurate. LemonLion's interpretation of its implications, which he is entitled to hold, is partisan to say the least. it does not have to be - and indeed should not be - reflected in a WP article. Smerus 08:53, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
    • What way are you reading it exactly? Are you reading it perhaps:

A true Jewish apologetic (who is) eschewing obscurantism, religious schizophrenia, and intellectual dishonesty, will be based on the conviction that all truth, ‘the seals of the Holy One, blessed is He’, is one, and that a synthesis is possible between the permanent values and truth of tradition and the best thought of the day.[1]

I think this should be made a little more clear in the article so that people don't misread it as I did (I'll have to take your word that the quote is completely accurate). It is very odd that he uses the term 'Jewish Apologetic' in a positive context as the phrase normally has negative connotations. LemonLion 14:43, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

  • I have the book before me and can verify the accuracy of the quotation. Jacobs is using the word 'apologetic' in its strict philosophical sense, which has nothing to do with an 'apology': the Oxford English Dictionary (also before me) gives as its first definition (as an adjective) 'Of the nature of a defence; vindicatory' and as a substantive '1. a formal apology for, or a defence of[...] a doctrine [...] 2. The defensive method of argument, often spec[ifically] the argumentative defence of Christianity'. It is I think with a wry reference to the latter definition that Jacobs chose this word.Smerus 15:16, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
See also Apologetics. Jheald 15:46, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. I have linked the text to this article which I hope may prevent any misunderstanding.Smerus 16:59, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

When the Torah was given[edit]

There is a lot of general misunderstanding about this. The Gemara - which is where Orthodox thought comes from - gives two opinions on the torah been given. They both say that it was given completely at Sinai UP TO THE POINT OF TIME that it was given. The rest of it was given either (depending on which of the two opinions you are going by...) at regular intervals until Moses died, or in one large chunk just before moses died. The whole idea of the whole torah been given at Sinai probably arrises from some Kaballistic idea of a part of the torah being infinite or something, leading to the popular phrase din Moshe m'Sinai, (law given to Moshe at Sinai). The point is, no one, not even orthodox philosophy, believes that the torah was given in it's entirety on Sinai. To that end I have replaced:

"as some Rabbinical (but not all) traditions have it, complete in its present form by God to Moses on Mount Sinai."

with...

"as Orthodox Rabbinical traditions have it, complete in its present form by God to Moses during the period beginning on Mount Sinai and ending with Moses's death."

I have used the term Orthodox, because it is more specific and relevant. Conservative, reform, liberal and obviously Mazorti philosophy doesn't have a problem with these issues in the first place. LemonLion 01:04, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Thanks for this clarification. The various branches of Judaism (it is spelt 'Masorti' btw.) may indeed retain an interest in this issue and it is a bit unreasonable not to allow them some! Smerus 08:57, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
    • I did not say that other sects are not allowed to have views on this issue. Rather I was saying that they are irrelevant in this context. Jacobs was claiming to be an Orthodox Rabbi at the time. Therefore, what is relevant is that his views were conflicting with that same Orthodox tradition which he claimed to be a member of. Thankyou for the spelling clarification though :) LemonLion 14:43, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Book donation[edit]

Dr. Rabbi Louis Jacobs donated his entire book collection to the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. I added this information but it was deleted. Is this piece of information not important enough to mention? --Jeloox (talk) 05:48, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Look again: it was not deleted but placed more appropriately in the article. Smerus (talk) 05:57, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks!--Jeloox (talk) 09:58, 13