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04 March 2016

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Awarded Templeton Prize 2016

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is awarded the prestigious 2016 Templeton Prize.


Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, our Emeritus Professor of Law, Ethics and the Bible at KCL and the former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, has spent decades bringing spiritual insight to the public conversation through mass media, popular lectures and more than two dozen books. Rabbi Sacks has been awarded the 2016 Templeton Prize.

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. The announcement was made at a news conference at the British Academy in London on 2 March 2016 by the John Templeton Foundation, based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. The Prize anchors the Foundation’s international efforts to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to human purpose and ultimate reality. 

Jennifer Simpson, Chair of the John Templeton Foundation Board of Trustees, notes that Rabbi Sacks epitomizes future-mindedness, a characteristic revered by her grandfather, Sir John Templeton and father, the late Foundation president and chairman Dr. Jack Templeton. “After 9/11, Rabbi Sacks saw the need for a response to the challenge posed by radicalization and extremism and he did so with dignity and grace,” she notes. “He saw the need for the strengthening of ethics in the marketplace long before the financial crisis.” 

Rabbi Sacks joins a distinguished group of 45 former recipients, including Mother Teresa, who received the inaugural Prize award in 1973, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1983), and philosopher Charles Taylor (2007). Last year’s Prize winner was Canadian theologian Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers. The 2014 Laureate was Czech priest and philosopher Tomáš Halík, following Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, in 2013 and the Dalai Lama in 2012. 

Puff image attributed to Cooper Niall, National Poverty Hearing, Westminster, 2006.