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UK chief rabbi: Richard Dawkins’ Bible slam anti-Semitic

JTA

September 14, 2012 | 9:19 am

Richard Dawkins in 2008. Photo by Shane Pope

Richard Dawkins in 2008. Photo by Shane Pope

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.'"

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