Chief Rabbi: Book error could have meant resigning

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has acknowledged that he would have had to resign if he had not amended his award-winning book on interfaith tolerance, The Dignity of Difference.

He made the admission at an address at the Oxford Union last week when he was asked by a student why he had revised the book for its second edition.

Strictly Orthodox rabbis demanded the withdrawal of the book in 2002.

At the time, the London Beth Din issued a statement saying that "certain passages lend themselves to an interpretation that is inconsistent with basic Jewish beliefs".

The controversy surrounded a section which rabbinical critics said gave too much credence to other faiths and failed to present Judaism as possessing the absolute truth.

The Chief Rabbi originally wrote that "No one creed has a monopoly on spiritual truth"; that "Judaism, Christianity and Islam are religions of revelation - faiths in which God speaks"; that "in heaven there is truth; on earth there are truths": and that "God has spoken to mankind in many languages: through Judaism to Jews, Christianity to Christians, Islam to Muslims."

All these sentences were omitted for the second paperback edition of The Dignity of Difference, which came out in 2003.

    Last updated: 4:43pm, March 18 2010