Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence

Jonathan Sacks. Schocken, $28.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8052-4334-5
Chief rabbi emeritus of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth, Jonathan Sacks (Covenant & Conversation) turns his prodigious intellect to deconstructing the mechanisms of religious violence. This well-researched tome spans human life, from the birth of human communities and discussions of the mechanics of social cohesion, to contemporary issues of terrorism and the healing work of recent popes. Weaving in the anthropological contributions of monotheism against the fractious lethality of dualism, Sacks dissects our civilization in crisis through the prism of anti-Semitism. If tyrants can convince others that their faith, their values, their God is under attack, Sacks argues, then they have a potent paranoiac cocktail for sustaining repression, and unleashing the dangerous “altruistic evil” that arose in Nazi Germany and that we see in terrorist attacks today. But if Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can overcome their “sibling rivalry”—which Sacks dismantles in a fresh interpretation of Genesis—these monotheistic religions can again offer a generative, life-affirming model of moral cohesion in our postmodern world. Sacks displays his wide learning and empathy in service of an ambitious, ingenious worldview. We’d all be wise to listen. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/10/2015
Release date: 10/06/2015
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-8052-1268-6
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