Piety, Tradition and Community in the Thought of Lily Montagu: An Anglo-Liberal Jewish Theology of Relation

Daniel R Langton


Lily Montagu (1873-1963) was a founding figure of the Anglo-Liberal Jewish Synagogue and, like her co-reformer Claude Montefiore, she had a special interest in Christianity. This article explores the way in which Montagu related to Christianity and Christians in the context of working out her own understanding of authentic Jewish spirituality, that is, a kind of individualistic piety, and in relation to her approach to Jewish religious tradition more generally. For Montagu there was a special relationship between Judaism and Christianity, and this led her to a highly inclusive conception of religious community. Many of her works were written for children or young adults, and include novels, short stories, biblical commentaries, theological reflections, and sermons. It will be suggested that this remarkable range reflects a distinctively feminist approach to a construction of a ‘theology of relation’.

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