In January 2013, a new series of Oxford Seminars in Advanced Jewish Studies will be inaugurated with a project focused on: ‘Orthodoxy, Theological Debate and Contemporary Judaism: A Critical Exploration of Questions Raised in the Thought of Louis Jacobs’.
This Research Seminar will bring a group of international scholars to the Centre to pursue a range of projects related to the overall theme. Those involved in the seminar bring a range of expertise – historical, sociological and theological – to bear on the subject, and will tackle the subject from a variety of disciplinary approaches.
The programme will open with a Symposium examining ‘Orthodox Judaism and Theology in the Twenty-first Century’, with public lectures to be held in Oxford on 23 January and in London on 27 January. Plans for additional London events are also in hand.
The project is intended to provide a forum for groundbreaking research on the state of contemporary Orthodox Judaism. It will examine issues such as Orthodoxy’s openness to ideas, to other Jews and to society at large. It will also study texts and rabbinic authorities that have been used to defend contemporary practices. The Seminar will address the question of the place of rational debate in contemporary Judaism, changing approaches to interpretations of revelation, the impact of gender issues and the scope for religious pluralism, both within Judaism and in relation to other faiths. The writings of Louis Jacobs will provide a means of exploring a number of these issues, and efforts to understand how his theology was constructed will contribute to the analysis undertaken, as well as contextualizing his thought more clearly.
The Oxford Seminars are supported by generous grants from the Polonsky Foundation, the Dorset Foundation and the Kennedy Leigh Charitable Trust.