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Publisher's Summary

2015 National Jewish Book Award Winner

In this powerful and timely book, one of the most admired and authoritative religious leaders of our time tackles the phenomenon of religious extremism and violence committed in the name of God. If religion is perceived as being part of the problem, Rabbi Sacks argues, then it must also form part of the solution. When religion becomes a zero-sum conceit - that is, my religion is the only right path to God, therefore your religion is by definition wrong - and individuals are motivated by what Rabbi Sacks calls "altruistic evil", violence between peoples of different beliefs appears to be the only natural outcome.

But through an exploration of the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, and employing groundbreaking biblical analysis and interpretation, Rabbi Sacks shows that religiously inspired violence has as its source misreadings of biblical texts at the heart of all three Abrahamic faiths. By looking anew at the book of Genesis, with its foundational stories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Rabbi Sacks offers a radical rereading of many of the Bible's seminal stories of sibling rivalry: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Rachel and Leah.

"Abraham himself," writes Rabbi Sacks, "sought to be a blessing to others regardless of their faith. That idea, ignored for many of the intervening centuries, remains the simplest definition of Abrahamic faith. It is not our task to conquer or convert the world or enforce uniformity of belief. It is our task to be a blessing to the world. The use of religion for political ends is not righteousness but idolatry... To invoke God to justify violence against the innocent is not an act of sanctity but of sacrilege." Here is an eloquent call for people of goodwill from all faiths and none to stand together, confront the religious extremism that threatens to destroy us, and declare: not in God's name.

©2015 Jonathan Sacks (P)2017 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Sacks's sobering yet soul-stirring new book... [offers] an ingenious rereading of Genesis.... His brilliance as a theologian radiates." ( The New York Times Book Review)
"Sacks believes that Islamic violence, like Jewish and Christian violence, flows from a misunderstanding of sacred text. In Not in God's Name he illuminates a wiser faith and a gentler God. It's a perceptive, poignant, and beautifully written book." ( The Wall Street Journal)
"A remarkable exploration of the reasons behind religious violence and solutions for stopping it.... A humane, literate, and sincere book, one with something truly new to say." ( Kirkus Reviews)

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What listeners say about Not in God's Name

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excellent book

Coming from a Christian worldview this book added much needed insight. Christian that shy away from Jewish insights do so to their intellectual detriment.

1 person found this helpful

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Not in God's Name

This is the best book I have read in a very long time. I couldn't put it down. I wish it could be made a must reading in our churches and mosques so that we can learn that there's a better way of worshipping the Most High God that embraces all other beliefs and non beliefs. An erudite grasp of the topic. So much wisdom in this book that it will take many readings to assimilate. The performance by Mr Sacks was captivating and soothing. Highly recommended.

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best book ever

one of the most important books of our time. he gets to heart of what the problem really amounts to.

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This book should be mandatory reading

I have read this book once and listened to this Audible book. Words can’t express how I feel about Rabbi Sacks. I’ve never read or heard anything from him that wasn’t excellent and much of it mind stretching. But this book tops them all in my opinion. If we would all read and then apply what we have read this world would be a much better place to live.

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Hard reading yet powerful.

Slightly hard to understand during the first initial reading but holds a very powerful meaning.

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Worth reading slowly, and several times

This book is deep, wide, and heavy. Some parts might be hard to swallow, but keep going and it all comes together. I would recommend this book for those who want to see the bridging themes in the Torah, and how that applies to history of religion and our current wold today. The author is the narrator, and he does a perfect job, I enjoyed the way he spoke and never got tired of it. And How he leaps from one thought to another and then ties it all together was very gripping and pulled me to keep listening.

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Wow Brilliantly well thought out with a clear message

This book (audio book) was god speaking through an amazing human being with a clear message to forgive (not to hate) and to love. Rabbi sacks is one of the most brilliant spiritual leaders I’ve seen. He is missed and will be missed. Another life changing book from a positive life changing man. If you love Rabbi Sacks as much as I do may I suggest checking out his YouTube channel or podcast he managed to create a lot of content before passing on from cancer. Beautiful soul. Beautiful human being.

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great listen

easy to listen to and insightful. depth of study with the rabbi is incredible and really gets you to contemplate the scripture.

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A book that will broaden your heart and mind horizon

Amongst the most profound readings of our time - humanism for all religions and loving to all.

The book reads wonderfully - couldn’t stop listening.

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  • AH
  • 11-26-19

Life changing...

Like having your private Rabbi reminding you that hopelessness isn’t allowed. Knowledge, Wisdom, and Skill are what conquer Darkness.