Obituary: Lionel Kochan

Lionel Edmond Kochan, Jewish historian: born London 20 August 1922, died Oxford 25 September 2005. Lionel Kochan was one of the most significant Jewish historians since the Second World War. He argued for the particular importance of his professional role. Writing in a 1992 essay, he reflects on "The Task of the Historian":

A variety of means is brought into play to effect the transmission of historical memory and to affirm its continuing vitality: education, religious liturgy, social institutions, dress, even food. When the study of a Talmudic tractate is completed, the event is customarily marked with a celebratory meal. And what would the Friday night inauguration of the Sabbath be without the traditional chicken soup? Even more important, however, in the process of transmission . . . of historical memory is its remembrancer, chronicler and scribe, in other words, its historian.

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