Sunday, June 6, 2010

What Part of "Happy Interfaith Marriage" Do Some People Not Understand?

It's been a very long time since I was motivated to post on this blog. Life, as it does sometimes, intervened. But the op-ed by in today's WaPo Outlook section by Naomi Schaefer Riley got me very hot and bothered this morning and not in a good way. It made me almost choke on my banana Cheerios, in fact, as I was getting our kids ready to go to our interfaith gathering.

You can read the article for itself, but what I find most grating about it is that pretty much all she cites are studies that retread all the arguments I've heard about interfaith couples, right up to "the family that prays together, stays together." Well, my family prays together. We say grace at dinnertime and we go to faith gatherings together. When I have some concern about someone's health, job, or life, I pray. Does this always happen at a synagogue, or a church? No. Is it exclusively Jewish or exclusively Catholic? No. But we have a shared experience in faith. And after a year of teaching a Sunday school class on the historical Jesus, I can say that I know more about Judaism and Jesus--and what my wife's and my own faiths have in common--than I ever did before.

Well, this has left me far too upset than I should be on a Sunday night. It's off to the grocery store and then to prepare a nice Sunday dinner. In an interfaith household in which we thank God every day that He led us to each other.


  1. You're spot-on, sir. I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Interfaith marriages are an easy target. Here's a very dour tweet about the same article:

    Thanks for writing this, Adam. Great view from the other side!

  2. You may have heard of this blog, but I thought I'd share - it's called "On Being Both," by an intermarried woman who was also raised interfaith and is raising her children interfaith. She has a lot to say on the topic!

  3. She's out to lunch! Take a look at the comments on my post on this, the "statistics" are ridiculous! This Washington Post piece was exceptionally bad "journalism," if journalism still exists...


  4. Thanks, Sue! Very much enjoyed your post. Thanks for pointing out the severe shortcomings in Reilly's "scholarship." (Anonymous, Sue and I are members of the same interfaith group.) I expect to post more on this article in the next day or two.

  5. "Historical J....."!?!

    The persons using that contra-historical oxymoron (demonstrated by the eminent late Oxford historian, James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue) exposes dependancy upon 4th-century, gentile, Hellenist sources.

    While scholars debate the provenance of the original accounts upon which the earliest extant (4th century, even fragments are post-135 C.E.), Roman gentile, Hellenist-redacted versions were based, there is not one fragment, not even one letter of the NT that derives DIRECTLY from the 1st-century Pharisee Jews who followed the Pharisee Ribi Yehoshua.
    Historians like Parkes, et al., have demonstrated incontestably that 4th-century Roman Christianity was the 180° polar antithesis of 1st-century Judaism of ALL Pharisee Ribis. The earliest (post-135 C.E.) true Christians were viciously antinomian (ANTI-Torah), claiming to supersede and displace Torah, Judaism and ("spiritual) Israel and Jews. In soberest terms, ORIGINAL Christianity was anti-Torah from the start while DSS (viz., 4Q MMT) and ALL other Judaic documentation PROVE that ALL 1st-century Pharisees were PRO-Torah.

    There is a mountain of historical Judaic information Christians have refused to deal with, at: (see, especially, their History Museum pages beginning with "30-99 C.E.").
    Original Christianity = ANTI-Torah. Ribi Yehoshua and his Netzarim, like all other Pharisees, were PRO-Torah. Intractable contradiction.

    Building a Roman image from Hellenist hearsay accounts, decades after the death of the 1st-century Pharisee Ribi, and after a forcible ouster, by Hellenist Roman gentiles, of his original Jewish followers (135 C.E., documented by Eusebius), based on writings of a Hellenist Jew excised as an apostate by the original Jewish followers (documented by Eusebius) is circular reasoning through gentile-Roman Hellenist lenses.

    What the historical Pharisee Ribi taught is found not in the hearsay accounts of post-135 C.E. Hellenist Romans but, rather, in the Judaic descriptions of Pharisees and Pharisee Ribis of the period... in Dead Sea Scroll 4Q MMT (see Prof. Elisha Qimron), inter alia.

    To all Christians: The question is, now that you've been informed, will you follow the authentic historical Pharisee Ribi? Or continue following the post-135 C.E. Roman-redacted antithesis—an idol?

  6. Anders, I reread your post and found it fascinating. Being raised in the Jewish tradition (and as a student of history and literature), I've always been interested in how the idea of Jesus has been built and propagated over the millenia. I cannot claim the scholarship that you can but thanks for contributing. (And my fifth grade Sunday school class is about to begin in the next couple of weeks. This discussion is above their pay grade but suffice to say it might illuminate some conversations!)