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1 INTRODUCTION On March 2, 2016, it was announced that Lord Jonathan Sacks, who had retired as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth in September 2013, had been awarded the Templeton Prize for that year. The prize was instituted in 1972 by Sir John Templeton to be given annually to “a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery or practical works.” Often quoted at Templeton Prize ceremonies are Sir John’s words: “No person may even know one percent of the infinite creative spirit. To learn anything, we must first become humble and rid ourselves of the egotistical idea that we already know everything about God.” Rabbi Sacks received the Templeton Prize pyramid at a private reception hosted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at Clarence House later that spring, while the prize ceremony itself was held on May 26 at Central Hall, Westminster, during which Sir John’s granddaughter Heather Templeton Dill presented Rabbi Sacks with the prize itself. In connection with the award, Rabbi Sacks gave the annual Templeton Prize Lecture at the American Academy of Religion/ Society of Biblical Literature Conference in San Antonio, Texas, on November 20, followed by a special lunch debate with invited scholars from the major world faiths. 2 Confronting Religious Violence 1. Rabbi Sacks and King’s College London As Dean of King’s College London, I was privileged to attend both the prize ceremony in London and the events in Texas. Rabbi Sacks completed his Ph.D. through the philosophy and theology departments at King’s in 1981, and we are proud to have him as one of our most distinguished alumni. He was awarded the Fellowship of King’s College (FKC), our highest honor, in 1993, the year I became Dean, when I had the delight of first meeting him. But he has always been very keen to be involved with our theological education, and his regular seminars as a visiting professor in Theology are a treat, which I have eagerly anticipated each year. In 2004 as part of the 175th celebrations of King’s, I invited him to participate in a term’s lectures for the Associateship of King’s College (AKC), our original award dating back to 1831, now taken by some two thousand students every year. The topic was “Forgiveness and Reconciliation,” and it also featured lectures from Archbishop Desmond Tutu FKC, who also studied at King’s back in the 1960s and who was spending a term at his alma mater as another visiting professor. Suffice to say that the whole term was very exciting and a great experience to share it with these two Fellows—­ but I particularly remember the lectures in which Rabbi Sacks was exploring his initial ideas about sibling rivalry in the Genesis narratives of Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, and others. We were delighted that Rabbi Sacks, after stepping down as Chief Rabbi in September 2013, joined King’s as Professor of Law, Ethics, and the Hebrew Bible—­ and it enabled us to continue our conversations about not just biblical ethics but especially this topic of sibling rivalry, as he began to compose the book which eventually became Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence, later published in 2015. It was immediately apparent that this was going to become a major work in the field of religion and theology—­ with enormous implications for how human beings should treat each other, especially in these difficult days of international conflict and tension, not least among and between the religious traditions. It is therefore no surprise that it led to his being awarded the Templeton Prize the following year. 2. The Templeton Humble Approach Initiative Symposium I was therefore extremely pleased when the John Templeton Foundation approached us at King’s to inquire about holding a symposium as part of their Humble Approach Initiative, which seeks to bring together Introduction 3 scientists, philosophers, and theologians to debate and learn from one another in humility. We had worked together with the Templeton Foundation on a similar symposium when Rabbi Sacks’ fellow King’s alumnus, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was himself awarded the Templeton Prize a few years earlier in 2013—­ and it was a delight to do so again. I continue to be particularly grateful to Mary Ann Meyers, the John Templeton Foundation’s senior fellow who directs the Humble Approach Initiative, for all her hard work...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781481309370
Related ISBN
9781481308953
MARC Record
OCLC
1066224984
Pages
310
Launched on MUSE
2018-11-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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