Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Oxford’s Maimonides manuscript disputes the design of the Temple Menorah

Rambam.jpgOxford’s Bodleian library is known for its rare collection of Hebrew manuscripts including some of the most important manuscripts of the great Jewish legalist and philosopher Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, known as Maimonides or by his Hebrew acronym Rambam (1138-1204). One of these Oxford manuscripts includes Maimonides’ rare and invaluable own handwritten work of his Commentary to the Mishnah, known in Hebrew as Pirush Hamishnayot, written in Judea Arabic (MSS 1655).


This manuscript was brought to Oxford by the great collector of Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts in the East, Professor Edward Pocock, who was born and passed away in Oxford (1604-1691). Prof. Pocock was appointed to the professorship of Hebrew at Oxford in 1647 an… Read More »

The convergence of the philosophy on liberty of Sir Isaiah Berlin and the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Sir Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) was the distinguished Chichele Professor of Political Theory at All Souls College, University of Oxford, and is generally viewed as one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, universally known for his essay Two Concepts of Liberty, delivered in 1958.


In this essay, we will explore how Sir Isaiah’s essay on two concepts of liberty converges with an essay on liberty by his distant cousin, one of the greatest Jewish leaders of the 20th century, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994), known as the Rebbe, who is widely recognised as having positively transformed world Jewry after the Holocaust.




The familial relation between the Rebbe and Sir Isaiah is recorded by Hen… Read More »

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