Books and bookmen: the Cambridge teachers of Rabbinics 1 866-1 971

In piam memoriam RL

The purpose of this paper is to pay tribute to my predecessors, the first five Lecturers and Readers in Rabbinic and Talmudic Literature (the actual title of the post has varied). These five men, Solomon Marcus Schiller-Szinessy, Solomon Schechter, Israel Abrahams, Herbert Loewe and Jacob Leib Teicher, held the post, with interruptions, from 1866 to 197 1, when I suc- ceeded Teicher. They represent a distinctive Cambridge tradition that deserves the epithet “unique”. I am not aware of any other university post devoted to the study and teaching of Rabbinic and medieval Hebrew language and texts that has existed through this period. In 1866, when the post was created, Rabbinics was the Cinderella of Hebrew studies, and Jews, with other non- Anglicans, were still barred from taking degrees in the University. Yet in Cambridge there was a real enthusiasm for Rabbinic Hebrew, and a small but

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