Claude Montefiore: defender of rabbinic Judaism?*

Surprisingly few works have been published about Claude Montefiore, although he was the founder of Liberal Judaism in Britain as well as a renowned and controversial figure in Jewish and Christian circles. This is presumably due to the fact that he was an eclectic rather than an original writer. However, his importance to both Jewish and Christian scholarship should not be underestim? ated, for it derives from his role as an interpreter of Jews and Judaism to Christi? ans and as an interpreter of Christians and Christianity to Jews. Montefiore was in the unusual position of being respected by Christians1 and, at the same time, his views were well known among Jews. His writings, both published and unpublished, could have been produced only by someone steeped in the Jewish tradition and with a profound knowledge of Christianity. Montefiore was able to inform Jews and Christians about scholarly and religious developments

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