Prof Daniel Langton

Professor of Jewish History

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Research interests

Prof. Langton has explored Jewish intellectual history and the history of Jewish-Christian relations in a variety of contexts, including Jewish New Testament studies, the origins of Anglo-Reform and Anglo-Liberal Judaism, Israel and Zionism, Holocaust Theology, and Jewish religious engagement with Darwinism and with Atheism. He was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for 2013-15 entitled Darwin's Jews and an AHRC Leadership fellowship for 2016-17 entitled The Doubting Jew.

The research topics of his PhD and MPhil students have included, for example:

  • Philo-Semitism and Anti-Semitism and the Jewish-Christian Encounter in England, 1620-1656
  • A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations in the UK, 1900-1999
  • Religious and Social nonconformity in Minority Communities: Representations of the Anglo-Jewish Experience in the Oral Testimony Archive of the Manchester Jewish Museum
  • Mormonism and Evolutionary Theory: A History
  • Political nonconformity in Minority Communities: Representations of the Anglo-Jewish Experience in the Oral Testimony Archive of the Manchester Jewish Museum
  • Samuel Sandmel: Post-Holocaust US Communal Leader, New Testament Scholar, and Pioneer in Jewish-Christian Relations
  • English Catholic Attitudes towards Jews and Anglo-Jewish Attitudes towards Catholics at the End of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (article and book)
  • Messianic Jewish Identity: The Case Study of Hugh Schonfield (book)
  • The Refugee Heritage of Manchester
  • Antitheodicy, Atheodicy and Jewish Mysticism in Holocaust Theology (article and book)

Books

Reform Judaism and Darwin How Engaging with Evolutionary Theory Shaped American Jewish Religion, 2019

Reform Judaism and DarwinDarwin provoked Jewish as well as Christian thinkers so that many felt obliged to establish oppositional, alternative, synthetic, or complimentary models relating Jewish religion to his theory of natural selection. This book examines a range of leading nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American progressive Jewish thinkers, with the primary focus being rabbis Kohler, Wise, Hirsch, Krauskopf, and Hahn, although many others are covered. Key themes include the widespread commitment to universal evolutionism, that is, the application of biological evolutionary theory to other realms (e.g. history, religion, cosmic), and the particular fascination with the evolution of ethical systems within human societies, bearing in mind mankind’s bestial origins and the new challenges for understanding religious authority and revelation. It is argued that Reform Jewish discussions about the nature of God have been more profoundly shaped by engagement with evolutionary theory than has been recognized before, and that evolutionary thought provides the key framework for understanding Reform Judaism itself.

The Apostle Paul in the Jewish Imagination, 2010

The Apostle Paul in the Jewish Imagination: A Study in Modern Jewish-Christian Relations (2010)The Apostle Paul in the Jewish Imagination: A Study in Modern Jewish-Christian Relations is a multidisciplinary examination of Jewish perspectives on Paul of Tarsus. Here, the views of individual Jewish theologians, religious leaders, and biblical scholars of the last 150 years, together with artistic, literary, philosophical, and psychoanalytical approaches, are set alongside popular cultural attitudes.

Reviews: 'In this fascinating and brilliant book, Daniel Langton describes how Jewish scholars, intellectuals, and artists, from Buber and Mendelssohn to Spinoza and Freud, grappled with the challenge of Paul and their own Jewish identity.' (Donald Hagner, Fuller Theological Seminary). 'Langton offers a sophisticated, nuanced, yet easy-to-follow analysis of the role of Paul in Jewish discourse.' (Mark Nanos, Rockhurst University). 'Daniel Langton's masterful study reveals a complex range of Jewish attitudes. This book will be a stimulating resource for Jewish-Christian dialogue and for Jewish self-understanding.' (Marc Saperstein, Leo Baeck College).  '[A] fascinating and erudite work... Chapter 1 in particular (Paul in the Popular Jewish Imagination) should be required reading for all Pauline scholars.' (Mark Finney, University of Sheffield).  'I highly recommend [it] to all who are interested in Jewish readings of the New Testament, as well as in their Jewish cultural and historical contexts. It is well-written, very engaging, and a significant contribution to the field of modern Jewish intellectual history and the history of the reception of the New Testament.' (Adele Reinhartz, University of Ottawa. Full review). '[A] rich and innovative study... [it] presents a challenge to major current interests in biblical scholarship... It deserves to be read widely and to become a stimulus for further dialogue of the kind it so well models.' (Judith Lieu, University of Cambridge. Full review).  '[A]n ambitious, pioneering study, which impresses the reader both with the tremendous breadth of scholarship presented and the big questions it addresses about Jews, Judaism, and modernity. Langton’s work is a tour de force... [A]n outstanding piece of scholarship that truly stands alone, sui generis.' (Matthew Hoffman, AJS Review. Full review).

Children Of Zion, 2008

Children of Zion: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on the Holy Land (2008)Children of Zion: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on the Holy Land is a booklet originally written for the Anglican Lambeth Conference 2008 and now available for public distribution in electronic form (for free). It is a useful teaching resource that outlines the way in which Jews and Christians have regarded 'Israel' (that is, the People, the Land, and the State) historically in their respective traditions, and how these ideas feature in modern Jewish-Christian relations today. There is also a section on official statements and an extended glossary. Throughout, emphasis is placed on different perspectives.

Reviews: 'It is a wonderful and useful piece of work.' (Ilan Troen, Director of the Israel Studies programmes at Ben Gurion University and Brandeis University). 'Langton has brought to bear his considerable knowledge and research abilities to produce in clear language something of real value... [Few] combine so effectively clarity with brevity and breadth with depth.' (Guy Wilkinson, Chief Inter Faith Relations advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury).

Claude Montefiore, 2002

Claude Montefiore: His Life and Thought (2002)Claude Montefiore: His Life and Thought is an intellectual history and biography of the founder of British Liberal Judaism and one of the most original Jewish scholars of his day. It attempts to place Montefiore within the context of Jewish thought during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It argues that Montefiore's own personal conception of Liberal Judaism, which was never fully appreciated by his followers, should be regarded as more than simply a progressive Jewish denomination, and rather as an attempt to re-mould Reform Judaism in terms of contemporary liberal Christianity. Montefiore is an important figure in Anglo-Jewish history, not least for the way in which his complex identity reflects the difficulty inherent in attempting to make Judaism genuinely relevant to the modern world.

Reviews: 'Daniel Langton's book on Claude Montefiore provides the first full-length study of the founder of English Liberal Judaism. Although a number of articles on Montefiore and a collection of his writings have been published since his death in 1938, no detailed treatment of this radical thinker has been made available until now... The book fills an important gap in Anglo-Jewish history and should be welcomed, particularly by those interested in the development of Progressive Judaism in the U.K... [This is] an articulate, well-reasoned, and valuable book, which I recommend.' (Ed Kessler, Cambridge University). 'The weight of the book is devoted to Montefiore's thought; the man was first and foremost a thinker... If there is one outstanding strength of Dr Langton's examination of Montefiore's theology, it surely lies in his frank admission of the extent to which Montefiore saw himself - and actively and unashamedly projected himself - as a later day expositor of the Jewish content of the teachings of Jesus.' (Geoffrey Alderman, Jewish Journal of Sociology).

Edited books

Normative Judaism, 2012

Normative Judaism? Melilah supplementary volume 1 (2012)Normative Judaism? Jews, Judaism and Jewish Identity, co-edited with Philip S. Alexander, is a collection of short case studies concerning the issue of normatively in Judaism and Jewish identity. The questions of how and why certain aspects of Jewish life and thought come to be regarded as authoritative or normative, rather than inauthentic or marginal, have been and continue to be contentious ones. The approach adopted here is to allow distinct case studies, mainly but not exclusively from the modern period, to speak for themselves. Normative Judaism? isa supplementary volume of Melilah and is published as the Proceedings of the British Association for Jewish Studies, 2008.

Contents: Philip S. Alexander, 'In Defence of Normativity in the Study of Judaism', Daniel Davies, 'Maimonidean Margins', Daniel R. Langton, 'Theoretical Approaches to Defining Jewish Identity, and the Case of Felix Mendelssohn', Bill Williams, 'The Ordinariness of Being Jewish: Jewish ‘Normality’ in Manchester, 1830 –1880', Marc Saperstein, ‘"Normative Judaism" in the Crisis of War: Sermons by Abraham Cohen and Israel Mattuck', George Wilkes, 'Ambivalent Normativity: Reasons for Contemporary Jewish Debate Over the Laws of War', Ruth Rosenfelder, 'Whose Music? Ownership and Identity in Jewish Music', Hannah Holtschneider, 'Are Holocaust Victims Jewish? Looking at Photographs in the Imperial War Museum Holocaust Exhibition'

Writing the Holocaust, 2011

Writing the Holocaust (2011)Writing the Holocaust, co-edited with Jean-Marc Dreyfus, provides students and teachers with an accessibly written overview of the key themes and major theoretical developments which continue to inform the nature of historical writing on the Holocaust. Holocaust studies is a paradox: while historians of the Holocaust defend it as a legitimate and well-defined area of research, they write against a complex political and ideological background that undermines any claim for it as a normative field of historical study. Writing the Holocaust offers a lucid enquiry into this complex field by demonstrating the impact of current theories from the humanities and social sciences upon the treatment of Holocaust studies.

Reviews: 'In this collection of ten essays, editors Jean-Marc Dreyfus and Daniel Langton show the interdisciplinarity that is characteristic of Holocaust studies. A number of the essays focus on different ways of looking at the Holocaust, such as gender and psychoanalysis, while others examine responses to the Holocaust, including representations of the events in movies and museums. In strong, concise essays, these authors provide an extensive background to their specific area of Holocaust study, as well as suggesting lines of investigation that deserve closer examination... Writing the Holocaust is an excellent example of how [a] new comparative approach to both Holocaust and genocide studies is possible, as well as highlighting many research avenues that are still fresh or underexplored.' (Norah Schneider, Journal of Genocide Research. Full review). 'The volume gives a good overview of how the thinking about ways to deal with the Holocaust has progressed. It is highly useful for scholars who want to take it as a basis to find out what literature has been published in the field of Holocaust writing, what perspectives have been taken, what problems have been debated, and what is the current state of the art. It is a broad overview and offers many openings for those who want to dig deeper into the material.' (Mare van den Eeden, European Review of History. Full review). '[A]ll of the contributions succeed in providing food for thought and setting out the key landmarks for this rapidly growing field of research.' (Susanne Heim, Perspectivia, Berlin. Full review).

Jews and Christians Perspectives on Mission, 2011

Jews and Christians: Perspectives on Mission (2011) Jews and Christians: Perspectives on Mission, co-authored with Rabbi Reuven Silverman and Revd. Patrick Morrow, is a booklet available for public distribution in electronic form (for free). It was published by the Woolf Institute under the auspices of the Lambeth-Jewish Forum, an informal meeting of Jews and Christians in the Church of England. It considers 'Jewish Mission' (Silverman), 'Christian Mission and Jewish-Christian Particularities' (Morrow), and 'Institutional Statements Concerning Mission' (Langton). It has been written for individuals engaged in theological education and for those occasions when Jews and Christians come together: for Jews to understand better diverse Christian approaches to mission, and for Christians to appreciate that, for Jews, there is an ongoing Jewish mission.

Edited reference works

Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions, 2013

Judaism section of Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions (2013)Judaism section of The Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions, co-edited with Norbert Samuelson and Les Lancaster. The Encyclopedia attempts to map the self-identities of current and prospective participants in the scholarly area of 'Science and Religion'.

Contents: Astronomy and Judaism, Bioethics and Judaism, Creation and Judaism, Ecology and Judaism, Feminism and Judaism, Immanence and Transcendence in Judaism, Names of God, Jewish Anthropology, Judaic Studies, Kabbalah and Judaism, Progressive Judaism, Mathematics and Judaism, Messiah, Messianic Judaism, Natural Sciences and Judaism, Philosophy and Judaism, Psychology and Judaism, Redemption and Judaism, Revelation and Judaism, Science and Kabbalah, Secularism and Judaism, Theology and Judaism.

Edited journals

Melilah 12 Atheism, Scepticism, and Challenges to Monotheism, 2015

Melilah vol.12 (2015)Melilah: Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies,volume 12: Atheism, Scepticism and Challenges to Monotheism, edited. An interdisciplinary Open Access journal, available in both electronic and printed editions, concerned with Jewish law, history, literature, religion, culture and thought in the ancient, medieval and modern eras.

Contents:  1. Kenneth Seeskin, 'From Monotheism to Scepticism and Back Again.' 2. Joshua Moss, 'Satire, Monotheism and Scepticism.'  3. David Ruderman, 'Are Jews the Only True Monotheists? Some Critical Reflections in Jewish Thought from the Renaissance to the Present.' 4. Benjamin Williams, 'Doubting Abraham doubting God: The Call of Abraham in the Or ha-Sekhel.' 5. Károly Dániel Dobos, 'Shimi the Sceptical: Sceptical Voices. in an Early Modern Jewish, Anti-Christian Polemical Drama by Matityahu Nissim Terni.' 6. Jeremy Fogel, 'Scepticism of Scepticism: On Mendelssohn’s Philosophy of Common Sense.' 7. Michael Miller, 'Kaplan and Wittgenstein: Atheism, Phenomenology and the use of language.' 8. Federico Dal Bo, 'Textualism and Scepticism: Post-modern Philosophy and the Theology of Text.' 9. Norman Solomon, 'The Attenuation of God in Modern Jewish Thought.' 10. Melissa Raphael, 'Idoloclasm: The First Task of Second Wave Liberal Jewish Feminism.' 11. Daniel R. Langton, 'Joseph Krauskopf’s Evolution and Judaism: One Reform Rabbi’s Response to Scepticism and Materialism in Nineteenth-century North America.' 12. Avner Dinur, 'Secular Theology as a Challenge for Jewish Atheists.' 13. Khayke Beruriah Wiegand, '“Why the Geese Shrieked”: Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Work between Mysticism and Sceptics.'

Melilah 11 Jewish Studies and the New Testament, 2014

Melilah vol.11 (2014)Melilah: Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies,volume 11: Jewish Studies and the New Testament, co-edited with Renate Smithuis. An interdisciplinary Open Access journal, available in both electronic and printed editions, concerned with Jewish law, history, literature, religion, culture and thought in the ancient, medieval and modern eras.

Contents:  1. Marc Zvi Brettler and Amy-Jill Levine, 'The Jewish Annotated New Testament: Retrospect and Prospects',  2. Anders Runesson, 'Saving the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel: Purity, Forgiveness, and Synagogues in the Gospel of Matthew',  3. Jody A. Barnard, 'Anti-Jewish Interpretations of Hebrews: Some Neglected Factors',  4. Etka Liebowitz, 'Hypocrites or Pious Scholars? The Image of the Pharisees in Second Temple Period Texts and Rabbinic Literature',  5. Pere Casanellas and Harvey J. Hames, 'A Textual and Contextual Analysis of the Hebrew Gospels translated from Catalan'.

Melilah 10 Israel Studies, 2013

Melilah vol.10 (2013)Melilah: Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies,volume 10: Israel Studies, co-edited with Renate Smithuis. An interdisciplinary Open Access journal, available in both electronic and printed editions, concerned with Jewish law, history, literature, religion, culture and thought in the ancient, medieval and modern eras.

Contents:  1. Daniel Langton, 'Abraham Isaac Kook's Account of 'Creative Evolution': A Response to Modernity for the Sake of Zion.'  2. Simon Mayers, 'Zionism and Anti-Zionism in the Catholic Guild of Israel: Bede Jarrett, Arthur Day and Hans Herzl.'  3. Roman Vater, 'Down with Britain, away with Zionism: the 'Canaanites' and 'Lohamey Herut Israel' between two adversaries.'  4. Dvir Abramovich, 'Breaking Taboos in Israeli Holocaust Literature.'  5. Tessa Satherley, ''The Simple Jew': The 'Price Tag' Phenomenon, Vigilantism, and Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh's Political Kabbalah.'

Melilah 9, 2012

Melilah vol.9 (2012)Melilah: Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies,volume 9, co-edited with Renate Smithuis. An interdisciplinary Open Access journal, available in both electronic and printed editions, concerned with Jewish law, history, literature, religion, culture and thought in the ancient, medieval and modern eras.

Contents: Luke Devine, 'Emergent Liberal Judaism and Lily Montagu’s Proto-Feminist Project: Exploring the Precursive and Conceptual Links with Second and Third-Wave Jewish Feminist Theologies', Aron C. Sterk, 'Latino-Romaniotes: The Continuity of Jewish Communities in the Western Diaspora, 400–700 CE', Bernard S. Jackson, 'Why the name New TESTAMENT?', Michael Rand, 'An Aramaic Dispute Between the Months by Sahlan Ben Avraham'.

Melilah 8, 2011

Melilah vol.8 (2011)Melilah: Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies,volume 8, co-edited with Renate Smithuis. An interdisciplinary Open Access journal, available in both electronic and printed editions, concerned with Jewish law, history, literature, religion, culture and thought in the ancient, medieval and modern eras.

Contents: Daniel R. Langton, 'The Gracious Ambiguity of Grace Aguilar (1816–47): Anglo-Jewish Theologian, Novelist, Poet, and Pioneer of Interfaith Relations', Simon Mayers, 'From the Christ-Killer to the Luciferian: The Mythologized Jew and Freemason in Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century English Catholic Discourse', Luke Devine, 'Imagining Fin-de-Siècle Anglo-Jewish Minority Sub-Genres: Proto-Feminist Visions of Religious Reform in "West End" London in Amy Levy's Reuben Sachs and Lily Montagu's Naomi's Exodus, Katarzyna Person, '"A Constructive Form of Help": Vocational Training as a Form of Rehabilitation of Jewish Refugees in Great Britain, 1939–1948', Avi Schmidman, 'A Multifaceted Nuptial Blessing: The Use of Ruth 4:11–12 within Medieval Hebrew Epithalamia'.

Melilah 7, 2010

Melilah vol.7 (2010)Melilah: Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies,volume 7, co-edited with Renate Smithuis. An interdisciplinary Open Access journal, available in both electronic and printed editions, concerned with Jewish law, history, literature, religion, culture and thought in the ancient, medieval and modern eras.

Contents: Simon Mayers, 'The Roman Catholic Question in the Anglo-Jewish Press, 1890-1925', Z. Yaakov Wise, 'The Establishment of Ultra-Orthodoxy in Manchester', Ed Kessler, 'Changing Landscapes: Jewish-Christian Muslim Relations Today', Hyam Maccoby, 'Some Problems in the Rabbinic Use of the Qal va-Chomer Argument', Glenda Abramson, 'Yitzhak Oren’s Fantastic Science: Two Stories'.

Melilah 6, 2009

Melilah vol.6 (2009)Melilah: Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies,volume 6, co-edited with Bernard Jackson, Ephraim Nissan, and Renate Smithuis. An interdisciplinary Open Access journal, available in both electronic and printed editions, concerned with Jewish law, history, literature, religion, culture and thought in the ancient, medieval and modern eras.

Contents: Cynthia Crewe, 'Plant Motifs on Jewish Ossuaries and Sarcophagi in Palestine in the Late Second Temple Period: Their Identification, Sociology and Significance' (abstract only), Dvir Abramovich, 'Feminine Images in the Writings of Amos Oz', Phillip Mendes, '"We are all German Jews": Exploring the Prominence of Jews in the New Left', Elliot Cohen, 'The Use of Holocaust Testimony by Jews for Jesus: A Narrative Inquiry'.

Melilah 5, 2008

Melilah vol.5 (2008)Melilah: Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies,volume 5, co-edited with Bernard Jackson, Ephraim Nissan, and Renate Smithuis. An interdisciplinary Open Access journal, available in both electronic and printed editions, concerned with Jewish law, history, literature, religion, culture and thought in the ancient, medieval and modern eras.

Contents: Tobias Green, 'Equal Partners? Proselytising by Africans and Jews in the 17th Century Atlantic Diaspora', David Lincicum, 'An Index to Frey’s Jewish Inscriptions in Recent New Editions', Daniel R. Langton, 'Some Comments on Micah Berdichevsky’s Saul and Paul', Dan Garner, 'The Nature of Ultra-Orthodox Responses to the Holocaust', Giula F. Miller, 'A Surrealist Reading: Formlessness and Non-Differentiation in Yitzhak Orpaz’s The Hunting of the Gazelle (Tseyd ha-Tsviyah, 1966) A Cycle of Three Stories'.