How To Study Torah (And The Constitution)
I was asked the other day about comparing the study of Torah to the study of the Constitution. Most of you know that I once went to Seminary. It was a huge mistake, but I did learn a few things when I was there. One of which was how NOT to study scripture.
The hard part of any study is dropping all of your preconceived ideas, all of your already decided beliefs and approaching things with an open mind. You will find that you are right about some things. And you will find that you were wildly wrong about some others.
That said, these are my ideas for how to study Torah… I mean the Constitution…
ADDITIONAL SHOW NOTES (with links):
As the Torah has the Talmud and Mishnah, the Constitution has its companion volumes which contain the accumulated wisdom and commentary. More are published each year, but the standard reference works include the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, The Commentaries on the Constitution and a smattering of others, such as the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution.
One of my personal favorite reference works is the Heritage guide to the Constitution. It is edited by Edwin Meese, and so has a decidedly “conservative” viewpoint, which is not why I particularly like it. The two things that make it my most used reference are: (1) each section lists the applicable Case Law and specific Supreme Court rulings which apply to that section, and (2) It is 100% Free available in a well designed and maintained website. I have the book, which I highly recommend (buy a used one, they start at $18!). Mine is heavily highlighted and well used, but for quick reference, the website is the complete text of the book, in one of the best layouts I have ever seen. And again, absolutely free! As I mentioned, ALL of Pauline Maier’s books are FANTASTIC!
A very useful web resource is the Constitution Society’s Chronology of the Pro and Anti-Federalist Papers. This is a good way to see how the individual papers relate to one another and to what is going on with the ratification process. And my long term goal, what I would like to someday have the Constitution Thursday website really be at its heart, it a “Constitutional Talmud.” Someday…