Fundamentalism Reconsidered (L’Eylah)

October 10, 1989
rabbi jonathan sacks tefillin tallit shul torah

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the latest to fall into the trap of misdefining "fundamentalism". By grouping together "Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East, Christian fundamentalism in Ulster and Jewish fundamentalism in Israel", Dr Runcie in his address to the Anglican General Synod was linking together like with unlike. Jewish fundamentalism in Israel indeed reflects a "fundamental belief" of Judaism in asserting a historical/Biblical claim to particular territory.

As an editorial in The Times point out, journalists are often guilty of bandying about fashionable words without considering their precise meaning, but this ought to be a lesser hazard for prelates.

In the present timely article Rabbi Sacks analyses Biblical interpretations that have been branded "fundamentalist" and considers in particular where the non-Orthodox Jewish movements err in their definition.