Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Just Reviewed “The Great Partnership” at SBR

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Folks, this morning I was pleased to be able to review a very different type of book by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, THE GREAT PARTNERSHIP: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning over at Shiny Book Review (SBR for short, as always).  Sacks’ thought is clear, compelling, and extremely interesting . . . but some of what he says will almost certainly annoy you as well.

That’s the main reason I call this a very different type of book, because religious scholasticism very rarely is either this understandable or with as many points of contention.  Sacks explains things so well that most readers should get the gist of what he’s saying, but of course this particular book will work best for scholars of comparative religion and/or people who believe science and religion are far from incompatible.

Mind you, as I said in my review, Sacks is not the first to make many of these arguments.  The author of many of them as revised for 20th Century thought is Mircea Eliade, who died in 1986.  But Sacks is the first to do these ideas justice in a way that many people will find comprehensible, as Eliade’s thought processes are sometimes so opaque that other religious scholars and philosophers (as Eliade was both, just as Sacks himself is both) are still arguing over it all these years after Eliade’s death.

But Sacks is the first to make the argument that some of the odd dichotomies in the Christian New Testament are due to one thing: that the thought behind the New Testament was obviously Hebraic in origin (from the Hebrew language, in short), but the New Testament was actually written and popularized in Greek.  What that means in the shortest form possible is this: Anyone who reads the Christian Bible In English (or any other contemporary language) is reading a translation of a translation.

For that insight alone, you should read Sacks’ THE GREAT PARTNERSHIP.

But be warned: Sacks does not like many aspects of contemporary life, and he’s not shy about saying so.  Sacks is against same-sex marriage.  He’s against what he persists in calling “abortion on demand,” a highly inflammatory statement.  And he’s against assisted suicide, even if done by doctors on terminally ill people, calling it “euthanasia.”

Still, this is an important book that allows people who believe in science and religion to feel good about their beliefs.  And as such, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Now, will you please go read my review?  Then, if the book intrigues you, go to the library and get it.  (Or better yet, buy a copy, as it’s now out in paperback.)

And do let me know what you think of it, once you’ve read it.  (Either one.)

 

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