I find it to be ironic that I am saying "do not trust internet scholars" while I am writing this on the internet. But a few years ago I ran across an internet radio program (and it is internet based because it lacks in so much scholarship it could not be carried on terrestrial radio) called "The Rob and Caleb Show". I have noticed first of all how they have tried to back bench my old show with my former co-host, JJ Roxx, in how they mix the brand of humor we had with the exact same theology I had back when I was young in my walk. But recently it has gotten so blatant, that when I started video recording my radio programs they decided to start doing the same. Both these things could be coincidence. But then Caleb decided to start wearing a suit for every show a month after I started wearing a suit during the recordings of my program. I used to plug my Brutal Planet coffee mugs, then they had to get coffee mugs made and plug them on their program. Caleb is trying so hard to be the old me (bad theology and all) that he has even bought the same kippa I wear, and quoted an article I wrote a few weeks back citing it as an email that was sent to him of someone asking him a question and decided to respond with my experiences as though they were his. When I was in political talk radio we used to call these people "back benchers". It is actually rather sad. But I think they have recently really hurt themselves as of recently and it is one of the many reasons my friend Marty refers to these two as Wayne's World, because they have the scholarship equivalent of Wayne and Garth.
But they recently started a new segment where they make fun of gematria values of words that correspond to the number of shows they have done. Now the thing that is hilarious is that these two call themselves scholars every 30 seconds, and one claims to have a degree in near east languages, yet he butchers the Hebrew every time he makes an attempt to say a word. I played the most recent clip of theirs to an orthodox friend of mine, who was born and raised in Israel and he had to laugh at how bad Rob's Hebrew was yet says he has a degree in the Hebrew language. But the thing that really exposed them was their goofing on gematria values claiming that the Hebrew letters do not have numerical equivalents. WHAT!!?? I know it is rather shocking, such a claim. But a self professed "scholar" claims that Hebrew letters do not hold numerical values. Well, I would have to ask Mr Rob Vanhoff how do you get numbers in Hebrew? The fact is, he doesn't know, yet he is a "scholar" in the Hebrew language which is laughable. Out of all the Hebrew classes I have taught and have taken in the past 11 years, one of the first things an instructor will tell you is that the letters also represent numbers. This is a known fact If you wish to say the number 1 in hebrew you say Aleph, if you wish to say the number 2 it is Bet, this is very basic stuff.
This is not the first time I have heard ridiculousness from these two individuals. A year and a half ago, they railed against me for supporting Andrew Gabriel Roth's Aramaic English New Testament and being an Aramaic primist. Now anyone who has read any Jewish literature, knows that in every piece of Jewish literature (including the Tanach) you will find words that are from another semitic language and even greek at times. Greek words are found a half a dozen times in the Hebrew Scriptures and Aramaic chapters are found all through the Hebrew Scriptures. This is how everything from the Tanach to the Mishna to the Gemara to the Zohar has been written. So Mr Vanhoff being the "scholar" he thinks he is, finds a greek word and a Hebrew word in the Khabouris Codex and uses that to say "see see it cannot be originally in Aramaic because there is a greek word here pointing to greek primacy". When actually such a thing fortifies the Aramaic primacy because the Hebrew Tanach follows the same model. If they had a basic understanding, barebones basic, they would know that their "scholarly textural criticism" causes them to get egg on their face as they do every week.
These two are the model of babies on Messiah and Torah. The babies in Messiah and Torah, don't realize the basic premise of "the more you learn you start to realize the less you actually know". When someone is self professed scholar, I can tell you that is the first indication one should run for the hills because an actual scholar i even quicker to say, he knows much less than he realizes. When a person is young in their walk they think they have it all figured out. They may get onto youtube and do podcasts each weak attacking Christian ideals or other teachers and these two kids do just that every week. As you all know it is rare I ever speak out against anyone. I just teach instead what I believe. But I am writing this not so one goes out and attacks these two babies in Messiah, but instead to show you guys what to look out for and to realize the internet is not the best place for research.
Look,when I started out, I would attack each week just like these guys did. A lot of my time was spent behind the keyboard and then talking about it on the radio. I thought I was a renegade out there speaking "truth" to the masses. In all honesty I was feeding nobody, and helping no one. I had an ego almost as big as these two. When a person matures that ego is shed, and they strip that ego away. A person then realizes what they don't say is actually more important than what they do say. They realize bringing the body together by teaching "why it is we do what we do as Jews" helps the body much more than finding a target every week. And we find out it is intellectually lazy to look for enemies and to "expose" than it is build. Babies in Messiah, I get it, they feel like they have been lied to by their former religious institution and they then have a lot of anger but hopefully after appropriate mourning that anger goes away and a person looks to build bridges and not burn people at the stake. It is basic spiritual maturity.
We have a problem in the internet age, of people who get a little bit of knowledge and then think they are ready to teach. And the internet sadly gives them an avenue to do just that and they can change their name without consequence and make up credentials which a majority of their listeners, they know, are too lazy to check. Brethren, let me give you some pointers on furthering yourself in your walk.
I hope and pray this is helpful. I am sorry to pick on Rob and Caleb but the fact is these two are the perfect model of what not to be in the Guf HaMashiach and we can use their example as what not to be and what to look out for. The last thing we need are more spiritually dead people with the internet egos and false accolades. Be careful my friends.
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah the North American Rebbe of Ani Judaism