The Dignity of Difference
How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations
The year 2001 began as the United Nations Year of Dialogue between Civilizations. By its end, the phrase that came most readily to mind was ‘the clash of civilizations.’ The tragedy of September 11 intensified the danger caused by religious differences around the world. As the politics of identity begin to replace the politics of ideology, can religion become a force for peace?
The Dignity of Difference is Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ radical proposal for reconciling hatreds. The first major statement by a Jewish leader on the ethics of globalization, it also marks a paradigm shift in the approach to religious coexistence. Rabbi Sacks argues that we must do more than search for values common to all faiths; we must also reframe the way we see our differences.
Following the publication of a revised version of The Dignity of Difference in 2003, Rabbi Sacks published a pamphlet on Judaism’s attitude towards other faiths and cultures. A Clash of Civilizations? Judaic Sources on Co-existence in a World of Difference includes some 30 pages of biblical and rabbinic sources and 70 pages of commentary by Rabbi Sacks.