British Chief Rabbi Slams 'God Delusion' Author

Image: getty images

Britain’s chief rabbi has accused the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins of relying on an anti-Semitic view of the Bible in his recent book.

Speaking at a debate filmed by the BBC earlier this month in Salford, Sacks said that a remark in Dawkins’s best-selling book “The God Delusion” was based on “centuries of prejudice.”

“I read it as a profoundly anti-Semitic passage,” the chief rabbi said.

Sacks was referring to a passage in the book that said the God of the Old Testament was the “most unpleasant character in all fiction”.

Dawkins, a professor at Oxford University, dismissed the allegation as “ridiculous” and said he was not “anti-Jewish” just “anti-God”.

Dawkins said he was joking when he asserted that the stories of the Old Testament suggested God was “jealous,” “petty,” “pestilential,” a “megalomaniac” and a “bully.”

“There are Christian atheists and Jewish atheists, you read the Bible in a Christian way,” Sacks said in response. “Christianity has an adversarial way of reading what it calls the Old Testament – it has to because it says ‘We’ve gone one better, we have a New Testament.’”

Written by


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

British Chief Rabbi Slams 'God Delusion' Author

Thank you!

This article has been sent!