This paper explores how sermons contributed to Jewish-Christian relations in Victorian England. I begin with a rhetorical analysis of sermons preached on behalf of the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews, the largest and best known missionary organization of its kind. I then examine a collection of sermons in which Hermann Adler, then rabbi of London’s Bayswater Synagogue and later Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, pushes back against their efforts, offering the “true explanations” of passages which, in his view, had been improperly employed by Christian preachers. Finally, I trace a kind of “feedback loop” in which both Jews and Christians responded to Adler, and sometimes had their work responded to as well. This is more a “case study” than an exhaustive treatment of the subject; as I state in the conclusion, “pulpit discourse is one aspect of the interfaith landscape that can be much more fully explored.”
Ellison, Robert H. “Turning ‘Bad Jews into Worse Christians’: Hermann Adler and the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews.” 45th Annual Meeting, Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies, 24 March 2018, University of California Santa Barbara. Conference Presentation.