Category Archives: All in the Family

Only On His Mother’s Side


All in the Family: Not Written by Karaites

CNN’s Belief Blog recently described how Archie Bunker, a caricature of a pre-civil-rights-movement bigot and the patriarch on the television series All in the Family, is taken to task by his liberal son-in-law for being an anti-Semite. To convince Archie to abandon his anti-Semitic views, Archie’s son-in-law reminds him that Jesus was Jewish. Archie comically quips back, “Only on his mother’s side.”

Archie’s rejoinder is interesting on many levels. If (as according to Christian theology) Jesus is the son of God, Jesus’ non-maternal lineage actually bolsters (not lessens) the point that Archie should not have ill-feelings towards Jews.

Archie’s response also strikes another religious chord; according to generally accepted Jewish beliefs, a child is Jewish if his mother is Jewish. Under this view, Jesus’ maternal Jewish lineage is the all that matters, which also supports Archie’s son-in-law’s argument.

Apparently, the writers of All in the Family were not Karaites.

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