(Foreword from Is the Good Book Bad?)
Rabbi Michoel Stern has produced a very valuable study of morality in classical Jewish sources. The topics covered are drawn from a variety of familiar contemporary complaints against the morality of traditional Judaism. In addition to a very extensive treatment of violence, the book addresses the nature of idolatry, the nature of sexual morality, the appropriate psychology of Divine service, the role of God in morality, and many more related subjects.
In his treatment of these topics, Rabbi Stern engages a wide variety of secular sources, including the works of the so-called new atheists and other philosophers and other social critics. I believe that anyone who cares about these subjects — and even those who have researched them — will find an enormous amount of valuable material in this book.
Rabbi Stern has attempted to address very difficult questions on which there is widespread comment, both from within and without the Jewish tradition. His scholarship is far-ranging and very illuminating. The issues by their very nature are difficult, subtle, and nuanced.
Some readers may prefer approaches other than that of Rabbi Stern, but everyone will be better informed by his analysis and his wide- ranging sources. I congratulate him on his valuable contribution to the presentation of genuine Jewish sources on these difficult topics.