The Templeton Prize Remembers Rabbi Sacks

November 21, 2023

This year, to mark its fiftieth anniversary, The Templeton Prize is is shining a spotlight on its laureates and reflecting on their impact on the world.

Among these remarkable people is Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the recipient of the 2016 Templeton Prize. He spent a lifetime promoting tolerance and understanding. In his words, his life’s work was “to bring the world that is closer to the world that ought to be.”

In nominating Rabbi Sacks for the Prize, Lord George Carey, the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote: “There are public intellectuals and religious leaders, but few who are both at the same time. There are academic scholars and popular communicators, but he is both, reaching out far beyond his own constituency through the spoken, written and broadcast word.”

The Templeton Prize, valued at £1.1 million (about $1.5 million or €1.4 million), is one of the world’s largest annual awards given to an individual and honours a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. Rabbi Sacks was formally awarded the Templeton Prize at a public ceremony in London on 26th May 2016.

Learn more about the enduring legacy of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, as told by the Templeton Prize.

Rabbi Sacks and the Templeton Prize

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Rabbi Sacks answers the Big Questions posed by the Templeton Prize

Each year’s Prize Laureate is presented with a series of Big Questions, a tradition that echoes the legacy of founder Sir John Templeton, the legendary investor and philanthropist who sought to foster and recognise spiritual progress. Rabbi Sacks tackles many issues in this series of videos,  including the recent spread of religious violence which he argues has been sparked by the export of Western secularisation.

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Watch the Press Conference Announcing the 2016 Recipient

At a press conference in London on 2nd March 2016, Rabbi Sacks was announced as the 2016 Templeton Prize Laureate. 

Jennifer Templeton Simpson, Chair of the John Templeton Foundation Board of Trustees, said “He has always been ahead of his time and, thanks to his leadership, the world can look to the future with hope, something we are very much in need of right now.”

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The Danger of Outsourcing Morality

Here is the video of the Templeton Prize official presentation, and Rabbi Sacks' acceptance speech, at the Templeton Prize ceremony in Central Hall Westminster, London in May 2016.

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Faith in the Future (A Templeton Conversation)

Rabbi Sacks delivered the Templeton Prize lecture at the Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature in San Antonio, Texas.