Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Origin of These 95 Theses

I'm very bad with memory, but here's how these Theses came about. (I call it "a kitchen table of contents.")

It was somewhere between 1980 and 1983. I think.

Sometime during this period I was personally tutored through Van Til's Defense of the Faith by R.J. Rushdoony (along with David Chilton, in David's home). My first article for Chalcedon had appeared in 1979, but within a couple of years, I was no longer with Chalcedon [pdf, see note 7]. In a 12-month period sometime during these years I read through Human Action by Ludwig von Mises and the Bible, both from cover-to-cover. More importantly, in subsequent months I read the Bible through two more times in succession.

The reading of Mises and once through the Bible took place daily before breakfast at the kitchen table of Trent and Carol Wilson. Carol had met Mises, Murray Rothbard and George Reisman in New York at the Mises seminars.

My grandparents came out to California for the winter, and for my grandfather to get back surgery in Palm Springs. I drove them back to Missouri in the Spring, and spent a few months swinging an ax and turning woods into pastures. The drive back to Missouri included some time in New Mexico. During the drive back to Missouri, and in New Mexico, I read through an un-highlighted NIV and underlined every verse that had anything to do with law, government, politics, etc.

At the kitchen table of my Aunt Doris I completed a third reading of the Bible and wrote the seven "archetypes" of Vine & Fig Tree, and when I returned to California, at the kitchen table of David and Layla Gibson (I think they were gone, and I was just house-sitting, or maybe baby-sitting Faith and Caleb), I went through my Bible and picked out what I thought were the 95 best highlighted passages (among the ones relating most to "the State"), and summarized them as "95 Theses on Patriarchy."

These months turned out to be the most important of my life. Here's my "Third Time's a Charm" Theory of Bible Study:

• The First time through, a number of verses registered "subconsciously."
• The Second time through, I consciously recognized these verses, usually saying, "I've seen that before; what does it mean?"
• The Third time through, the pieces come together. A puzzling verse in Genesis is explained by later verses. What once seemed to be an isolated and obscure verse is now seen to be part of a collection of verses, and the pattern becomes clear.

I'd like to think that anyone who read through the Bible three times cover-to-cover in succession would come to the same conclusions I have, but it helps to have Van Til, Mises, and Rushdoony under your belt as well.

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