The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning

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partnershipThe Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning
By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Schocken Books
New York, 2012
370 pages

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is perhaps the leading contemporary spokesman for a sophisticated Orthodox Judaism. Effortlessly uniting Torah commentary with Western philosophy, Rabbi Sacks demonstrates the depth of Torah while adding his own layer of profound commentary. His erudition and eloquence have tackled many of today’s obstacles to faith.

One subject he has long addressed, albeit briefly, is the illusion of scientific challenges to faith. Science does not contradict religion; the two sets of truths complement each other. In this book-length treatment of the topic, Rabbi Sacks provides sustained engagement with the mistaken notion that science disproves religion. Science is based on faith, supports religion and, quoting Einstein, is “lame” without it.

Science tells us the universe’s facts; religion reveals its morals. Both are necessary for a successful society to develop technology and harness it for good. Any apparent contradiction is based on a category error, confusing two separate realms. The book’s text is intended for general readership but an appendix provides Torah sources with specific approaches for reconciling Judaism with science. Quoting important thinkers such as Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch and Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, Rabbi Sacks presents a roadmap for an Orthodoxy that embraces science without compromising Torah principles.

Rabbi Gil Student writes frequently on Jewish issues and blogs at TorahMusings.com. He is a member of the Jewish Action editorial board. 

This article was featured in Jewish Action Summer 2013.

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