Judaism, No. 133, Vol. 34.1, Winter, 1985, is devoted to a symposium on Patrilineal Descent. The historian, Dr. Shaya J.D. Cohen, traces the development from an original patrilineal descent to the matrilineal as it has existed for well-nigh two thousand years. Cohen himself refuses to comment on whether, as some Reform Rabbis in the U.S.A. have advocated, patrilineal as well as matrilineal descent be now accepted, so that a child would have Jewish status if one of its parents were Jewish irrespective of whether it is the mother or the father. The participants in the symposium, drawn from all sections of the religious community, discuss Cohen's analysis and also consider whether the suggested change be adopted. Naturally, all the Orthodox and most of the Conservative participants are against the change. The symposium is valuable, too, in that it throws light on how scholars view the whole question of whether history should have a voice in determining Halakhah. (L.J.)



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