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

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'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.

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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: 6.4 x 9.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

A global religious leader, philosopher, bestselling author and moral voice for our time, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is currently the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University and the Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University. He is also Professor of Law, Ethics and the Bible at King's College London. Previously, Rabbi Sacks served as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth between September 1991 and September 2013, only the sixth incumbent since the role was formalized in 1845.

Described by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales as "a light unto this nation" and by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as "an intellectual giant", Rabbi Sacks is a frequent contributor to radio, television and the press both in Britain and around the world. A visiting professor at several universities in Britain, the United States and Israel, Rabbi Sacks holds 16 honorary degrees, including a Doctor of Divinity conferred to mark his first ten years in office as Chief Rabbi, by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey.

In recognition of his work, Rabbi Sacks has won several international awards, including the Jerusalem Prize in 1995 for his contribution to diaspora Jewish life and The Ladislaus Laszt Ecumenical and Social Concern Award from Ben Gurion University in Israel in 2011. Rabbi Sacks was named as The Becket Fund's 2014 Canterbury Medallist for his role in the defence of religious liberty in the public square. He was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 2005 and made a Life Peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords in October 2009.

The author of 25 books, Rabbi Sacks has published commentaries to the daily Jewish prayer book (siddur) and has completed commentaries to the Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Pesach festival prayer books (machzorim) to date. His most recent book, Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence, which tackles the thorny issue of religious extremism and violence committed in the name of God, was published in June 2015 and was a bestseller in the UK. It is set to published in the United States in October 2015. His book The Great Partnership: God, Science and the Search for Meaning, published in July 2011, received widespread praise for articulating a way for religion and science to mutually coexist.

A number of his books have won literary awards, including the Grawemeyer Prize for Religion in 2004 for The Dignity of Difference, and a National Jewish Book Award in 2000 for A Letter in the Scroll. Covenant & Conversation: Genesis was also awarded a National Jewish Book Award in 2009, and the Koren Sacks Pesach Machzor won the Dorot Foundation National Jewish Book Award for Modern Jewish Thought and Experience for 2013. His Covenant & Conversation commentaries on the weekly Torah portion are read by thousands of people in Jewish communities around the world.

Born in 1948 in London, Rabbi Sacks attended Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, receiving honors in philosophy. He continued his studies at New College, Oxford, and King's College London, where he earned his doctorate in 1981. The same year he was ordained at Jews' College and at Yeshiva Etz Chaim, both in London. He served as the rabbi for Golders Green synagogue and Marble Arch synagogue in London. Before taking the post of chief rabbi, he also was Principal of Jews' College, the world's oldest rabbinical seminary.

In 1970, Rabbi Sacks married his wife, Elaine, and they have three children, Joshua, Dina and Gila and several grandchildren.


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)
A Letter in the Scroll (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)
Covenant and Conversation: Genesis (2009)
Covenant and Conversation: Exodus (2010)
The Great Partnership; God, Science and the Search for Meaning (2011)
The Koren Sacks Rosh Hashana Mahzor (2011)
The Koren Sacks Yom Kippur Mahzor (2012)
The Koren Sacks Pesach Mahzor (2013
Lessons in Leadership (2015)
Covenant and Conversation: Leviticus (2015)
Not in God's Name (2015)
The Koren Sacks Succot Mahzor (2015)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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