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The Great Partnership: God, Science and the Search for Meaning Hardcover – December 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340995246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340995242
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,806,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'The most persuasive argument for religious belief I have read' -- Andrew Marr, BBC Radio 4 Start the Week 20111017 'An intelligent, optimistic credo that allows for the happy coexistence of science and religion' -- The Times 20110618 'One of the most engaging thinkers of our time' -- The Times 20110618 'Britain's most authentically prophetic voice' -- The Daily Telegraph 20110618 'Jonathan Sacks's voice carries unique moral authority far beyond the Jewish community' -- The Tablet 20110618

About the Author

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks is admired by non-Jews as well as Jews, by secular as well as religious thinkers, and is equally at home in the university and the yeshiva. A well-known writer and broadcaster, he has authored 18 books including Radical Then, Radical Now, The Dignity of Difference and, most recently, FUTURE TENSE.

More About the Author

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has been Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth since September 1, 1991, the sixth incumbent since 1845.

In July 2009, appointed to the House of Lords as a cross-bencher.

Prior to becoming Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Sacks served as Principal of Jews' College, London, the world's oldest rabbinical seminary, as well as rabbi of the Golders Green and Marble Arch synagogues in London. He gained rabbinic ordination from Jews' College and London's Yeshiva Etz Chaim.

His secular academic career has also been a distinguished one. Educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he obtained first class honours in Philosophy, he pursued postgraduate studies at New College, Oxford, and King's College, London. Sir Jonathan has been Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Essex, Sherman Lecturer at Manchester University, Riddell Lecturer at Newcastle University, Cook Lecturer at the Universities of Oxford, Edinburgh and St. Andrews and Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He is currently Visiting Professor of Theology at Kings' College London. He holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Bar Ilan, Cambridge, Glasgow, Haifa, Middlesex, Yeshiva University New York, University of Liverpool, St. Andrews University and Leeds Metropolitan University, and is an honorary fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and King's College London. In September 2001, the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred on him a Doctorate of Divinity in recognition of his first ten years in the Chief Rabbinate.

At his installation as Chief Rabbi in 1991, Dr Sacks set out his vision of a reinvigorated Anglo-Jewry and launched it with a Decade of Jewish Renewal, followed by a series of innovative communal projects. These included Jewish Continuity (a national foundation funding programmes in Jewish education and outreach), the Association of Jewish Business Ethics, the Chief Rabbinate Awards for Excellence, the Chief Rabbinate Bursaries, and Community Development, a national programme to enhance Jewish community life. In 1995, he received the Jerusalem Prize for his contribution to diaspora Jewish life. In September 2001 the Chief Rabbi began his second decade of office with a call to Jewish Responsibility and a renewed commitment to the ethical dimension of Judaism. He was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June 2005. A notably gifted communicator, the Chief Rabbi is a frequent contributor to radio, television and the national press. He frequently delivers BBC RADIO 4's THOUGHT FOR THE DAY, writes a monthly CREDO column for THE TIMES and delivers an annual Rosh Hashanah message on BBC 2. In 1990 he was invited by the BBC Board of Governors to deliver the annual Reith Lectures on the subject of THE PERSISTENCE OF FAITH.

The Dignity of Difference was awarded the 2004 Grawemeyer Prize for Religion, and A Letter in the Scroll a National Jewish Book Award 2002.

Born in 1948 in London, he has been married to Elaine since 1970. They have three children, Joshua, Dina and Gila and three grandchildren.

Publications:

Tradition in an Untraditional Age (1990)
Persistence of Faith (1991)
Arguments for the Sake of Heaven (1991)
Crisis and Covenant (1992)
One People? (1993)
Will We Have Jewish Grandchildren? (1994)
Community of Faith (1995)
Faith in the Future (1998)
The Politics of Hope (1997)
Morals and Markets (1999)
Celebrating Life (2000)
Radical Then, Radical Now (2001)
The Dignity of Difference (2002)
The Chief Rabbi's Haggadah (2003)
From Optimism to Hope (2004)
To Heal a Fractured World (2005)
The Authorised Daily Prayer Book: new translation and commentary (2006)
The Home We Build Together (2007)
Future Tense (2009)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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A excellent book for analytic philosophy reading.
Amy Chu
The idea is simple but extremists on both ends of the alleged science vs religion divide have burdened this idea with some very destructive unhealthy nonsense.
Steve P
Christians, Judaists, Muslims, atheists, leftists, greens, conservatives and scientists alike should all read this book.
Gary W Stone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steve P on September 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant discourse on the relationship between science, faith, and religion. It should be read by three groups of people: 1) religious fundamentalists who have rejected science; 2) secular fundamentalists who have rejected religion; and 3) everyone in between.

The author, Jonathan Sacks, Baron Sacks, Kt is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. His Hebrew name is Yaakov Zvi.

In THE GREAT PARTNERSHIP Sacks rejects the extremism of both religious and secular fundamentalists who wish to but an unbreachable barrier between religion and science. And unlike Stephen J Gould's suggestion that religion and science should be kept separate, Sacks argues for a complementarity (a partnership) between them.

This book is one of the most clearly articulated discussions on why both science and religion are necessary to maintain a full humanity and the way in which both need each other to avoid extremism. My finger was almost worn out with all the highlighting I was song on my Kindle. Sacks is very, very widely read, a deep thinker, and yet writes in a beautiful, easy-to-read narrative style making profound and memorable statements simply.

His essential point is that science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean. The idea is simple but extremists on both ends of the alleged science vs religion divide have burdened this idea with some very destructive unhealthy nonsense. Sacks is gently critical of both religious and secular fundamentalists appealing for a respectful conversation which, all too often, neither side are willing to engage in.

I can't speak highly enough of this book. It's one of the best I've read for ages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is simply the best book I know on 'Science and Religion'. Rabbi Sacks sees these as two complementary, not contradictory spheres of human endeavor. Science aims at discovering the truth of the natural world, providing explanation and understanding. Religion according to Sacks focuses on the sphere of Meaning and Interpretation. The roots of the scientific enterprise are in ancient Greece, and the roots of monotheistic religion in ancient Israel. Sacks tells the story of the combining and in a sense confounding of these two realms in the synthesis made by Christianity.
In the course of the work Sacks tells his own personal story of dedication and service to the Jewish people. He spent a year traveling through America speaking with various Jewish religious teachers and was encouraged by the Rabbi of Lubavitch to make a contribution to the Jewish people. He then began an intense period of religious study which led him to the Rabbinate and shortly after the Chief Rabbinate.
Throughout the work Sacks shows the value of Religion in the moral life of Mankind. He does not attempt to prove the existence of God and claims that this is in a way a kind of improper activity. Instead he finds God through meetings with people and through a search for meaning in life. He makes practical arguments which show how being religious is on the whole better for people,providing them meaning in life, a sense of purpose.
He also however contends on an intellectual level with those who strive to deride faith in God. He shows how the New Atheists often substitute an improbability with a greater improbability as they do in speculating of multiverses in order to disprove that our Universe might have been the work of a single Creator.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pauline Davis on December 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I appreciated Rabbi Sacks explanation of the Jewish beliefs of Genesis, the two different accounts of creation and how man is made responsible for his behaviour
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By daniel diamond on December 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read a few science-religion books, and this one was refreshingly insightful take on a tiresome debate. Instead of playing the same old apologetic game where the goal is to sort through the laundry-list of difficulties that science poses for religion, and attempt to diffuse each one to defend the truth of religion, Rabbi Lord Sacks' book has a different goal altogether.

He attempts (successfully in my opinion) to show the necessity of religion in an age where science has all the answers, and he frames science & religion as a partnership (hence the name) designed to advance our world in both moral and intellectual truth. Get rid of one partner, he argues, and the results would destroy our world. He provides historical, philosophical, and hypothetical examples to illustrate his point.

Brilliant. Highly recommended for anyone struggling to reconcile scientific truth with religious conviction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lauren Roth on October 10, 2013
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Rabbi Sacks is an incredible scholar and humanitarian. His writing is also eloquent and beautiful. I highly recommend this book for any member of the human race.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard Peter von Rahden on February 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has written an outstanding book that is simultaneously insightful and a pleasure to read. He successfully achieves the chief intention of the book, to show how modern science and belief in an actively involved Creator are intellectually and practically compatible, and can exist in parallel to the benefit of both. He goes further than this, however, and addresses issues such as the problem that pain and suffering appear to present to believers in an elegant and concise fashion. He also raises awareness of elements of philosophy, most especially the differences between Greek philosophy (which still remains the bedrock of Western thought) and the Hebrew worldview. His scholarship and breadth of discussion is impressive.

He writes from an Orthodox Jewish perspective, but 98% of what the book contains, other than a few comments on the Messianic identity ascribed to Jesus Christ, is entirely compatible with progressive Christian belief, and I believe that Christians will find this to be a extremely valuable book to support the majority of their belief. It will should also sharpen Christians' insight into the influence of ancient pre-Christian Greek philosophy on the doctrines of the church, and encourage a greater exploration of the Hebrew religious worldview - of relevance because Jesus Christ was Hebrew!

Overall, I believe that this is destined to be recognized as a classic book, and largely lays to rest the perceived conflict between true applied science and true thoughtful religion. It is in my mind also a classic religious apologetic book, having impact and relevance for its time similar to that made by CS Lewis's Mere Christianity when that book was published.

I would encourage you to read it.
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