How Influential Is Dennis Prager?

I’m struck by the awe that thousands of unlearned Jews such as myself display towards Dennis Prager (we revere him for his ability to present Jewish texts and ideas in a rational and inspiring way) and the lack of awe displayed toward him by those who can read Hebrew.
Enthusiasm for Dennis Prager is usually inversely proportionate to Jewish learning.
I’ve hung around after Dennis Prager’s speeches and watched the crowd pump him with questions. Few seemed learned. Those who wait around the longest tend to know the least about Judaism.
I’ve never seen a Talmud scholar wait around to pick Dennis Prager’s brain. The idea is laughable. Dennis is not a scholar.
Torah scholars regard Dennis the way historians regard popular writers of history such as Barbara Tuchman and Berel Wein — not at all. Dennis has virtually no influence on traditional Jewish thought and practice. He’s rarely quoted or cited by traditional rabbis. He’s like Martin Buber – widely cited by non-Jews and ignored by practicing Jews.
I’ve never met anyone at an Orthodox shul who’s in awe of Dennis Prager.
A Mar. 17, 2012 search of Google Scholar for “Dennis Prager” returned 659 results, a little more than for “Hugh Hewitt” (441) but less than for “Michael Medved” (927). By this yardstick, Dennis Prager’s influence on intellectual life is mild and not in the same league as his favorite intellectuals such as George Will (12,000), James Q. Wilson (13,600), Thomas Sowell (5,990), Viktor Frankl (9,280), and Charles Krauthammer (5,650).
According to this Google Scholar search, Prager’s most cited book was Why The Jews? at 57, Nine Questions at 39, Happiness at 21 and Think at 9.
By comparison, James Q. Wilson’s book The Moral Sense was cited 911 times. His book Crime Human Nature was cited 2,360.
A Google search for “Dennis Prager” on Mar. 17, 2012, revealed 1,150,000 results. “George Will” gave 3,690,000 results. “Charles Krauthammer” gave 1,540,000 results. “Viktor Frankl” gave 1,610,000 results. “Thomas Sowell” gave 2,330,000 results.
A check of Talkers magazine on this same date lists Dennis Prager as the 40th most influential radio talkshow host.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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