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Obituary: Hyam Maccoby

It is very sad to have to report the death, on 2 May 2004, of Professor Hyam Maccoby.

Professor Maccoby joined the Centre for Jewish Studies as a Visiting Professor (later Research Professor) in 1998, after a distinguished career as Scholar-Librarian and Lecturer at the Leo Baeck College, London, of which he became an Emeritus Fellow in 1995. Professor Maccoby published extensively on rabbinic literature, the history of Jewish-Christian relations, Christian origins, and the origins of anti-Semitism. His writings have been translated into several European languages and Chinese.

Professor Maccoby was also the author of a play, The Disputation, based on one of the most famous of the Christian-Jewish disputations of the Middle Ages. Originally shown on Channel Four, the play was later expanded by Professor Maccoby for the stage and was performed to critical acclaim in both the USA and this country, one commentator describing it as a theatrical masterpiece of real passion and power. In 1996, Professor Maccoby was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Open University.

During his time at Leeds, Professor Maccobys distinction as a scholar and his excellence as a teacher did much to advance the development of Jewish studies within the University. He was a member of the Centres Executive Committee and also sat on the Board of Studies of the Centre for Medieval Studies. Professor Maccobys personal research flourished, with the publication of three books: Ritual and Morality (1999), Philosophy of the Talmud (2001) and Jesus the Pharisee (2003). Professor Maccoby completed his last book, Antisemitism and Modernity, shortly before his death.

A full obituary was published in The Independent on 3 May and may be read on that newspapers website,

Published: 7 May 2004