Monday, June 20, 2016

Odds and Ends

I came across this quote from Aristotle the other day:
“The male is by nature superior and the female inferior and one rules and the other is ruled. This inequality is permanent because the woman’s deliberative faculty is without authority, like a child’s.”
When I wrote about Chazal's attitude towards women, I came up with the analogy of Chazal having seen women as children on my own. It seems I was right on the nose. This quote supports the idea that women really were seen as children in the ancient world. I tried to find the original source, but haven't been able to. If anyone were able to find where Aristotle wrote it, I would appreciate the citation.

I came across this in a lecture series on the philosophical positions of skeptical and theistic theologians:
The Fundamentalism Project, a University of Chicago research project that examined fundamentalism in different faiths, describes fundamentalism as,

"1. Fundamentalism involves a pure religious past based on a selective recovery of tradition as the basis for a present religious vision.
2. Central to fundamentalism is a struggle against secular modernity that is grounded in the belief that what is variously referred to as Secular Humanism or "the West" is a threat to religious identity. It is religiously imperative to resist this threat and conform to God's will.[i]"
Sound familiar?

Lastly, I've been working on the book I proposed. I have 99 pages of loosely-organized notes (which keeps growing), and I'm working on sorting them into an outline that I can turn into the book. I was wondering is anyone would be interested in lending a hand. I could use help in four areas:

1. Proofreading for spelling and grammar mistakes, for clarity, and for possible counter-arguments. I took a kiruv book apart once, and that is informing the way I'm writing. I want, as much as possible, to anticipate the responses of the frum reader and prevent a similar dissection of this book.

2. Research in  general sources. There are a lot of ideas rattling around in my head which would be a lot more authoritative if I could source them. I regret not making notes on all the books I've read over the years, but it's too late now, and Google only helps so much.

3. Research in traditional Jewish sources. I was never the greatest lamdan, and it's been a looong time since I opened a gemara.

4. Help with the norms and arguments of segments of the frum world I'm not familiar with. The book is necessarily written from my point of view, and so primarily addresses the Yeshivish community I grew up in, but I would like to touch on other hashkafos as well, especially those of the Chassidishe world.

While I daydream about the book being a success and finding fame and fortune, in reality I don't expect to make much, if anything off of it. The plan is to make it available for free online as a PDF and for purchase as a print version at slightly more than whatever the printing company charges to print it. Consequently, if anyone is interested in helping, it would be strictly as a volunteer.

If you are interested, please send me an email with name and the area(s)  you'd like to help with, and I'll get in touch with you as things come up I need information on.

[i] Roberts, T. (2009). Skeptics and Believers: Religious Debate in the Western Intellectual Tradition


  1. You probably are familiar with some of my blog posts. FYI - just finished a series of posts on Rav Slifkin's Challenge of Creation. What a valiant attempt by RS.

  2. How do I get in touch with you
    I'd love to help
    Email me at
    Its obviously a pseudonym I am still deep inside and won't post my official address at q public forum
    I am from the states and Israel and would really like to read what you have written and do my part to help