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How Would God Vote?: Why the Bible Commands You to Be a Conservative Hardcover – June 3, 2008

3.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Shattered Tablets:
“Marvelously lucid ... It weaves theological insight with the author’s reflections on living in a society (ours, alas) that has cast off the Decalogue’s authority.”
—Rod Dreher, Dallas Morning News

Praise for Why the Jews Rejected Jesus:
“Few writers on religion are as fearless as [David] Klinghoffer.”
—Esther Schor, Times Literary Supplement

Praise for The Discovery of God:
“I was simply bowled over by the beauty of David Klinghoffer’s prose and the lucidity of his expression. A fantastic achievement.”
—William F. Buckley Jr.

Praise for The Lord Will Gather Me In:
“An arresting spiritual autobiography … David Klinghoffer has issued a prophetic challenge.”
—Mark Silk, New York Times Book Review

About the Author

DAVID KLINGHOFFER is a senior fellow in the Discovery Institute’s program in Religion, Liberty, and Public Life and a columnist for the Jewish Forward. He is the author of The Lord Will Gather Me In, Why the Jews Rejected Jesus, and Shattered Tablets. He and his family live on Mercer Island, Washington.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Religion; First Edition edition (June 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385515421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385515429
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,573,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Less an answer to the provocative question, How Would God Vote?, this book is more of format for a scholarly Orthodox Jew to gain exposure for his views on public policy. For Klinghoffer, if he can find Scripture and traditional Jewish texts that support his conservative worldview, than this is sufficient proof for how God would vote. Of course, Klinghoffer would argue that his worldview is not his own, it comes, first and foremost, from God.

Nonetheless, I found this work very compelling; containing some very important (and for me, worldview-changing) insights. Klinghoffer is clearly a thinker and scholar, and while one might not always he agree with him, he cannot be simply dismissed as a conservative ideologue.

As a Christian, one flaw I found in this work, is the way Klinghoffer craftily weaves in Jewish scholarly/religious tradition as a supplement for Scripture; this, of course, the very problem Jesus of Nazareth had with the Jewish religious leaders who crucified him. For Klinghoffer if a certain rabbinic teacher had what Klinghoffer considers to be a profound insight on Scripture, than that insight becomes equivalent to Scripture itself. The Jew's have been rightly accused of "coveting much to be wise beyond what is written" (written in Scripture) and you'll find plenty of evidence for that in this work.

Also, Klinghoffer, while ostensibly taking the side of the Judeo/Christian paradigm in America, nonetheless takes delights in taking potshots New Testament Scripture and exegesis.

Nevertheless, as I averred above, Klinghoffer does make, in this book, a solid contribution to the argument for calling upon a Judeo/Christian worldview in managing the body-politic in America. He is the kind of scholar I would like to know personally, even if we have conflicting understanding of the nature and work of Jesus Christ.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're looking for Jewish insights into what God wants for America, you've come to the wrong place.

Klinghoffer writes as an "Orthodox Jew," and he quotes the Talmud and traditional Jewish interpretations of the Bible.

But his worldview is derived from Christian conservatives. Rather than asking, "what does Judaism say," he asks: "What Jewish sources agree with my Christian friends?"

The result could lead well-meaning Christians to the false notions that Judaism and Christianity agree on topics that they actually don't.

He fails to let readers know when he is conveying authentic Jewish wisdom (as he does when he noted that Judaism doesn't consider life to begin until 40 days after conception) and when he is just making stuff up (as when tries to use the Hebrew phrase "Bet Av" to impose St. Paul's notion of an obedient wife (!?) on the Hebrew Bible).

So there's some truth-in-advertising problems here.

Readers prepared to read closely may be disappointed because Klinghoffer indulges in more hand-waving and ad hominem arguments than one might like. In his first three pages, he dismisses eight books at odds with his views, without showing any evidence of having read them, let alone addressing their arguments.

Ultimately, he vacillates arbitrarily between taking the Bible literally and ... not.

He ignores entire books of the Bible that don't fit his politics. (Amos, for starters.)

And his central question -- what does the Bible command? -- is at odds with Orthodox Judaism, which finds definitive interpretation of Scripture in the Talmud and its commentaries.
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The author has me assent to his bringing out biblical values characterizing today's conservatism in confrontation with liberalism. He does this from the standpoint of an orthodox Jew, but allows "what a timelessly useful book Scripture is, whether it is seen as divine revelation or simply as the treasured wisdom of mankind" (p.245).

He sees (p.21) "liberalism as the political expression of materialism", of being "in the grip of nature", giving the examples of gays claiming "no choice about their sexual behavior", or women that they "can't be held responsible for...unwanted pregnancy" and subsequent abortion. These forces of materialism can be more broadly associated with the scourge of Darwinism, leading to the "dialectic materialism" of communism, and "Aryan supremacy" of Nazism.

"Women's rights" and "gay rights" can be seen also as originating in more particular weaknesses of the human spirit. The civil rights movement concerning the equality of blacks was morally fully justified as an important advance in human justice. But as often happens when initially righteous action is carried to excesses, other groups cried "me too", with questionable justification. "Equality" was being applied in inappropriate areas, as when trying to obliterate the differences between men and women, by insisting they do the same work, or by not distinguishing between them in marriage.

The book's author touches on these subjects and others, and I am in agreement with many of his viewpoints. There are some though I strongly depart from. He writes (pp.108-9) about "a demand for justice, even extending down through many generations" and, "According to biblical tradition, responsibility can be inherited". Biblical tradition or not, it is unfortunate that especially a Jew condone the same.
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