- On the Scholarship of Elliott HorowitzEditors' Introduction
More than a year after his untimely passing, the memory of Elliott Horowitz z"l is strong. His unique and iconoclastic brilliance informed every page of our journal, whether through his distinctive editorial hand (which often lengthened, rather than shortened, essays) or his inventive rethinking of the form and content of scholarship. Elliott exemplified the very essence of what we sought to create in the Jewish Quarterly Review when we took it over in 2003: a mix of old and new, at once harking back to the polymathic, bibliophilic, and antiquarian cast of the old, London-based JQR and yet always seeking out important new trends and talent in the field of Jewish studies. No one was better than Elliott Horowitz in balancing those two missions. It is what lent our journal its character; and we seek to perpetuate it, in his wake.
Of course, it is not just as an editor that Elliott merits remembrance. He was an uncommonly creative scholar, for whom quality of output was always far more important than quantity. It is deeply satisfying to read the words of the distinguished colleagues who have written so admiringly of Elliott and his work in the forum that follows. They appreciate his love for the essay as the densest and purest form of scholarly virtue. They recognize the immense erudition that stood behind his frequent digressions, as he packed colorful character portraits and unlikely bibliographic references into fascinating, if sometimes circuitous, tales. Above all, they agree as one on the path-breaking innovation that he brought to the study of Jewish history, as he repeatedly upended established convention in pursuit of the untold story that lay beneath the surface. Few could probe with his acuity, nose for novelty, and reverence for the irreverent, as he pushed into full view the beards, coffee, nocturnal rituals, youth confraternities, and violence that other scholars had failed to see or not dared to acknowledge in the Jewish past. What is clear from the essayistic tributes that follow is that Elliott Horowitz was, in his own particular way, one of the most creative and influential scholars of Jewish history of the past quarter century. [End Page 351]
Tragically, his body gave way all too prematurely. We hope that his pluckiness, aplomb, and love of old and new—honed in his beloved Oxford, as well as in his constant global journeys—continue in the pages of this journal to which he devoted so much of his precious attention. May his memory indeed be a blessing and inspiration to us all!
The editors [End Page 352]