Saturday, 26 December 2015

"The Holocaust and Halakhah" by Rabbi Irving Rosenbaum

This is a strange and haunting book - a testimony to the efforts of orthodox Jews to live in accordance with Jewish law (halakhah) under circumstances of Nazi persecution.  It consists in large part of responsa, or rabbinical opinions on what Jews were to do in order to keep in the way of the Torah.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Reflections on the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)

For most Jews and Christians, the Bible is an artefact.  It is revered rather than read.  Even in the secular world, politicians and commentators occasionally claim that our country was built on the Bible or on Biblical values - but this is a claim that needs to be unpacked quite a bit.  The truth is that the Bible is at once a much more foreign and a much more interesting book than most people realise.

Two ultramontanist Catholic texts

  • Louis Cardinal Billot SJ, Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi, 3rd edition, 1909-10
  • John S. Daly, Michael Davies: An Evaluation, 2nd edition, 2015

The first text that I want to look at in this post is the Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi (Treatise on the Church of Christ) by Cardinal Louis Billot (1846-1931).  Billot was a star theologian in his time, but he is largely forgotten today.  His undoing was dabbling in far-right French politics.  He gave his support to Action Fran├žaise, an essentially secular movement which supported the restoration of absolute monarchy; and he was forced out of the College of Cardinals by Pope Pius XI as a result.  In his treatise, he quotes Charles Maurras, the ideological leader of Action Fran├žaise, despite Maurras being a religious sceptic with a particular dislike of Christian doctrine.