All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Personal Study

I've posted before about the topic that I've named "reactionary religion".  The basic idea being that many Christian doctrines are formulated as a reaction to a previously existing doctrine or policy.  With that basic idea in mind several years ago I decided to research (and teach a series of classes on) the topic of Baptism.  Instead of rehashing Catholic/Reformed/Anabaptist/Evangelical/Charismatic arguments I decided to try and learn everything I could about the Jewish practice.  The study of the mikvah and tevilah started me down the road to discovering that much of the theological positions of Christendom are based on faulty premises.

That realization has forced me to reexamine my thinking on a number of religious topics. 

Over a year ago I started formally studying some of the aspects of Jewish thought and Christianity.  This has been an interesting study for me.  I've learned somethings and gained perspective that has been amazing.  This topic of study is going to take up a considerable amount of my time for some years to come.  There really is so much to learn about the Jewishness of Christianity.

More recently I have become acquainted with Rabbi B.  He is becoming a fantastic asset in my continuing religious education.  Not only is he a gracious teacher but he is patient with questions that I'm sure seam infantile to him.  As part of his efforts to educate me, he has written a thorough explanation of the Rabbinic understanding of circumcision.  His work has been enlightening to me both because of the effort he has put into the topic and as a insight into the Jewish thought process.

I don't know if there is any interest in reading his work, but I am offering to share it with anyone who would be interested.  Rabbi B has graciously given me permission to either email it or post it here.  If you are interested in reading it please drop a line in the comments and let me know if you prefer it online or via email.  If you want it emailed you need to send me your address.

Rabbi B hasn't agreed to this, but if there is enough interest in posting it on line, he may be kind enough to field some questions for us too.


  1. Res Ipsa,

    The kind words are appreciated.

    To those who may be interested in taking advantage of Res Ipsa's offer, it is important to understand that the information I have shared privately with Res Ipsa thus far, is not entirely my original work, but largely a compilation and adaptation of the work of others on any topic, as I draw upon my learning and research over the years.

    I want to avoid false impressions as much as possible. What I have penned so far has been shared informally and so I have not footnoted and referenced every source, if any at all. Res Ipsa is aware of this, and others who may be interested should be as well.

    I am more than happy to share any number of my sources for further study and research, but I do not assume that my audience will want to invest the requisite time and effort to wade through and distill all of the literature that may be available on any given topic. However, I consider it a great privilege and pleasure to do this work for others.

    My adaptations of the source material are also informed by my deeply held beliefs and a personal worldview that is strictly and unapologetically Biblical in nature. Therefore, there will be occasions when I depart from many of my Jewish contemporaries and forebears on any number of topics, even if it is a majority view. I believe our views have to pass the test of the truth if we are going to continue to hold them as meaningful and dear. The truth of any matter must be measured and weighed against the truth of God's Word.

    If our beliefs or positions do not square with truth as revealed to us in God's Word, we should have the courage and the humility to reject it, no matter how deeply held and dear to us they may be.

    I do not have some special knowledge or insight that is not available to anyone who is willing to thoughtfully and diligently approach a study of the Bible. However, Res Ipsa has also alluded to an important paradigm shift which deserves special consideration: the idea that Christianity is rooted in a context and thought process that is Jewish in nature, rather than Hellenistic. Suffice it to say, he is on to something and I believe he was being drawn to this understanding by a close and careful study of the Scriptures before we ever met.

    Any structure is only as solid and stable as its foundation. I strongly believe that the Torah lays the foundation for all of the Scriptures to follow, and that no one ever constructs a building beginning from the roof down. All that to say, I think I can offer a perspective that will serve to complement, challenge, and greatly enhance and deepen one's understanding of all of the Scriptures.

    I have been an educator in multiple capacities for a number of years, and I truly see my role as one who stands on the shoulders of my forebears who have done much of the heavy lifting. I simply enjoy the privilege of sharing and presenting, and disseminating what I have learned in the hope that others will benefit.

    I am also more than happy to field any questions folks may have.

    One final thing: I am grateful to and indebted to Res Ipsa for graciously providing another platform to present some ideas to a wider audience. In my short interaction with Res Ipsa, he has proven to be a thoughtful and insightful scholar. His example is worthy of imitation.

    So, that is my disclaimer and my two shekels worth. :)


  2. FWIW,

    This type of learning isn't for everyone. I say that because the amount of depth required to understand and appreciate it is counter cultural to the American mind.

    I'm not trying to slam my own cultural background. We live in an age of Wikipedia. We "Google it" and get a synopsis and move on. This type of study requires meditation. Meditation is the antithesis of our modern world.

    I know that there are about 7 or 8 of my readers who are above average bible students. This sort of study may be of interest to you.

  3. I'd be interested in reading it but I'm probably not too interested in doing a study.

  4. black3:14 PM

    I would be interested in having it on file for reference and general perusal.

    I don't have time for actual in-depth study, but am always interested in picking up new paradigms. And with absolutely zero knowledge of Jewish culture, etc.... I'm interested.

    I'll email you...