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Rabbi Josh Yuter

Recommended Books

27 books on the list
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Against Empathy book cover
Against Empathy
The Case for Rational Compassion
Paul Bloom - Jan 09, 2018 (first published in 2016)
Goodreads Rating
New York Post Best Book of 2016We often think of our capacity to experience the suffering of others as the ultimate source of goodness. Many of our wisest policy-makers, activists, scientists, and philosophers agree that the only problem with empathy is that we dont have enough of it.Nothing could be farther from the truth, argues Yale researcher P...
Rabbi Josh Yuter
Dec 30, 2021
I also highly recommend everyone read Paul Bloom's excellent book: Against Empathy. It's not that empathy is "Bad" but it's a manipulative way to set policy with severe negative consequences.      source
Also recommended by
Vinod Khosla
Seeing Like a State book cover
Seeing Like a State
How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (Veritas Paperbacks)
James C. Scott - Mar 17, 2020 (first published in 1998)
Goodreads Rating
"One of the most profound and illuminating studies of this century to have been published in recent decades." —John Gray, New York Times Book ReviewHailed as "a magisterial critique of top-down social planning" by the New York Times, this essential work analyzes disasters from Russia to Tanzania to uncover why states so often fail—sometimes catastr...
Rabbi Josh Yuter
Oct 11, 2021
@AvBronstein I think you'll also appreciate his book Seeing Like a State:      source
What's Wrong With Morality? book cover
What's Wrong With Morality?
A Social-Psychological Perspective
C. Daniel Batson - Nov 16, 2015
Goodreads Rating
Most works on moral psychology direct our attention to the positive role morality plays for us as individuals, as a society, even as a species. In What's Wrong with Morality?, C. Daniel Batson takes a different approach: he looks at morality as a problem. The problem is not that it is wrong to be moral, but that our morality often fails to produce ...
Rabbi Josh Yuter
May 13, 2021
One of the most important books I've read this year is C. Daniel Batson's What's Wrong with Morality. The most relevant and depressing finding pertains to hypocrisy and how people prioritize *appearing* moral over actually *being* moral. I.e. Twitter.      source
How Judaism Became a Religion book cover
How Judaism Became a Religion
An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought
Leora Batnitzky - Aug 25, 2013
Goodreads Rating
Is Judaism a religion, a culture, a nationality--or a mixture of all of these? In "How Judaism Became a Religion," Leora Batnitzky boldly argues that this question more than any other has driven modern Jewish thought since the eighteenth century. This wide-ranging and lucid introduction tells the story of how Judaism came to be defined as a religio...
Rabbi Josh Yuter
May 12, 2021
@Brooklyn654321 @RachelBethGross @ymiller419 See JZ Smith's classic article, "Religion Religions, Religious" (PDF) and/or Leora Banitzky's book How Judaism Became a Religion:      source
Critical Race Theory book cover
Critical Race Theory
An Introduction (Critical America, 20)
Richard Delgado - Mar 07, 2017 (first published in 1995)
Goodreads Rating
Updated to include the Black Lives Matter movement, the presidency of Barack Obama, the rise of hate speech on the Internet, and moreSince the publication of the first edition of Critical Race Theory in 2001, the United States has lived through two economic downturns, an outbreak of terrorism, and the onset of an epidemic of hate directed against i...
Rabbi Josh Yuter
May 10, 2021
@navmydreams So far the easiest book I can recommend is Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. One of the co-authors has been one of CRT's primary proponents in academia and the book is exceptionally readable esp compared to much of the actual scholarship.      source
Peshat and Derash book cover
Peshat and Derash
Plain and Applied Meaning in Rabbinic Exegesis
David Weiss Halivni - Sep 03, 1998 (first published in 1991)
Goodreads Rating
From the days of Plato, the problem of the efficacy and adequacy of the written word as a vehicle of human communication has challenged mankind, yet the mystery of how best to achieve clarity and exactitude of written expression has never been solved. The most repercussive instance of this universal problem has been the exegesis of the law embodied...
Rabbi Josh Yuter
Apr 27, 2021
@prranch @spengjr @TheJogre46 Thanks for the tag! I think much has to do not only with interpretation but authority, meaning which interpretations are legally authoritative and/or who has the authority to make which interpretations (or their practical consequences. Here's a great book:      source
Charity in Rabbinic Judaism book cover
Charity in Rabbinic Judaism
Alyssa M. Gray - Dec 18, 2020
Goodreads Rating
Studying the many ideas about how giving charity atones for sin and other rewards in late antique rabbinic literature, this volume contains many, varied, and even conflicting ideas, as the multiplicity must be recognized and allowed expression.Topics include the significance of the rabbis' use of the biblical word "tzedaqah" as charity, the coexist...
Rabbi Josh Yuter
Mar 04, 2021
@ArmchairTheo @MeirSimchah Very much an oversimplification but that's a *much* longer conversation over following strict statutes vs. following modern/contemporary parallels. Re your other point, I highly recommend @AlyssaMGray1's wonderful book on Charity in Rabbinic Judaism:      source
The Study of Judaism book cover
The Study of Judaism
Authenticity, Identity, Scholarship
Aaron W. Hughes - Jul 02, 2014 (first published in 2012)
Goodreads Rating
Considers Jewish studies as an academic discipline from its origins to the present....
Rabbi Josh Yuter
Feb 25, 2021
@JeffreyWoolf I recently finished Aaron W. Hughes' book on The Study of Judaism about Judaic Studies academia so these thoughts are on my mind. (I personally enjoyed the book even though it's pretty much a polemic)      source
Jewish Law, 4-volume set book cover
Jewish Law, 4-volume set
History, Sources, Principles
Menachem Elon - Jan 01, 2003 (first published in 1994)
Goodreads Rating
A Philip and Muriel Berman Edition; Translated from the Hebrew by Bernard Auerbach and Melvin SykesJustice Menachem Elon’s classic text surveys the panorama of Jewish law from biblical times to contemporary Israel. The result is the most definitive record to date of a unique legal system that integrates criminal, civil, and religious law to form a ...
Rabbi Josh Yuter
Feb 13, 2021
This Shabbat I finally finished reading all 4 volumes of Menachem Elon's magnum opus on Jewish Law / Mishpat Ivri. Such a magnificent and transformative work, essential reading for anyone interested in Jewish law.      source
The Magician's Land book cover
The Magician's Land
A Novel (Magicians Trilogy)
The Magicians Series
Lev Grossman - Jun 09, 2015 (first published in 2014)
Goodreads Rating
“If the Narnia books were like catnip for a certain kind of kid, these books are like crack for a certain kind of adult.” —The New York Times Critics, readers, and fellow writers have all hailed the Magicians trilogy by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lev Grossman as one of the greatest achievements in modern fantasy. Cast out of Fillory, Quen...
Rabbi Josh Yuter
Feb 03, 2021
@ShammaBoyarin Really? I never saw the show, but I greatly enjoyed the books. If I can ask, what didn't you like about the books?      source
Also recommended by
Michael Arrington
The Magician King book cover
The Magician King
A Novel (Magicians Trilogy)
The Magicians Series
Lev Grossman - May 29, 2012 (first published in 2011)
Goodreads Rating
Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The Magicians, now an original series on Syfy, from the author of the #1 bestselling The Magician’s Land. Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discov...
Rabbi Josh Yuter
Feb 03, 2021
@ShammaBoyarin Really? I never saw the show, but I greatly enjoyed the books. If I can ask, what didn't you like about the books?      source
Also recommended by
Michael Arrington
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Confidence Men by Ron Suskind
Jewish Materialism by Eliyahu Stern
The Demon in Democracy by Ryszard Legutko
From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, Third Edition by Shaye Cohen
A Conflict of Visions by Thomas Sowell
The White Man's Burden by William Easterly
Laws of Fear by Cass Sunstein
Limits of Orthodox Theology by Marc B. Shapiro
The Quest for Cosmic Justice by Thomas Sowell
The Vision of the Anointed by Thomas Sowell
Social Vision by Philip Wexler
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
The Fractured Republic by Yuval Levin
Evil by Roy Baumeister
Inventing Human Rights by Lynn Hunt