Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav
Putting God Second by Donniel Hartman
Add to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf

Putting God Second

Best Seller
Putting God Second by Donniel Hartman
Paperback $18.00
Feb 14, 2017 | ISBN 9780807063347

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (2) +
  • Feb 14, 2017 | ISBN 9780807063347

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Feb 16, 2016 | ISBN 9780807053928

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Feb 16, 2016 | ISBN 9780807053935

    Buy from Other Retailers:

*This title is not eligible for purchase to earn points nor for redemption with your code in the Reader Rewards program

Product Details


“A stimulating and sure-to-be discussed critique of monotheism.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In this accessible exploration of how faith in God can determine and influence personality, Hartman (The Boundaries of Judaism) successfully engages with what he believes to be the most fundamental question of our time. He notes that the causes of the world’s great conflicts have begun to shift from ‘national and secular’ politics to religious ones. Given this, Hartman wonders whether religion actually makes believers treat others with more compassion and kindness. Despite his own deep commitment to Judaism, the rabbi does not flinch from exposing many examples, including some from the Bible, that argue against the idea of religion as a force for good. Using his own religion as his lens, Hartman analyzes the phenomena he labels God Intoxication and God Manipulation; in the former, obsession with paying attention to the divine leaves ‘less room…to be aware of the human condition,’ and in the latter, ‘God is drafted in the service of human self-interest’ to advance an individual’s personal interests and agendas. Hartman makes a powerful case that believers should both judge the word of God and ‘be inspired and instructed’ by it, and that putting people first is the real way to follow the divine will.”
Publishers Weekly

“Eminently readable, constructively controversial and profoundly spiritual…This book is not for the spiritually faint-hearted.”
The Jerusalem Post

“This is an intellectually lively work that illuminates and advances the conversation on religious faith. Putting God Second paints a portrait for religion in the modern world and makes the case for a view of religion in which love of persons and an affirmation of their dignity, integrity, and worth stand at the center of religious faith. In doing so, Hartman rescues religion from both its most reactionary exponents and its ‘cultural detractors’ who would bind religion into fundamentalist straitjackets.”
—Rabbi David Ellenson, director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University and author of Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice

Putting God Second addresses the most critical issues facing religion in the modern world. As Hartman brilliantly argues, it’s too simplistic to join Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris in reducing religion to the cause of centuries of bloodshed and hatred, or to side with those who only see in religion the inspiring teachings that ennoble humanity. Instead, Hartman offers a sophisticated and compelling analysis of the flaws within Jewish scriptures as a model for other monotheistic faiths, and outlines a remarkable new way to keep our relationship with God from overshadowing our responsibility to God’s many children.”
—Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism

“A work of deep faith that takes today’s challenges to faith head on—rooted in the tradition, yet alive to the new. Religious self-criticism is essential to twenty-first-century peace. Rabbi Donniel Hartman shows why and how.”
—James Carroll, author of Christ Actually

Putting God Second is a must-read book for anyone who is looking for a fresh take on religion and religiosity of all kinds. Its powerful argument invites people of all faiths (or no faith) to re-examine the basic premises of religion altogether. Only a faithful Jew could put forth such a challenge, and Rabbi Hartman does it spectacularly.”
—Abdullah T. Antepli, Chief Representative of Muslim Affairs, Duke University

Table Of Contents


Religion’s Autoimmune Disease

You Are Your Brother’s Keeper:
The Religious Ethic of Nonindifference

God Intoxication and God Manipulation

Recovering from God Intoxication

Immunizing Against God Manipulation

When Scripture Is the Problem

Do I Have to Believe in God to Be
a Good Jew?

Putting God First by Putting God Second



Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates from Donniel Hartman
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top