Oh, my goodness, I could not have stated it better. Amy Jill Levine's line summarizes one of my key points I've been making for years. Context, history, and actual study are essential to understanding most anything. Yet so many seem to gloss over these essentials and make stuff up. They then require everyone to just believe whatever it is they've made up. It's no wonder confusion reigns in so many areas.
It has long been my contention, for example, that to understand religion, we have to understand the times in which they emerged. My particular focus has been on the first centuries, BCE and CE. If we don't at least try, we miss the meanings of the events, the parables and teachings. We fall prey to every charlatan, to every misguided speaker, to contorted ideas, inaccurate translations and out and out cons.
I feel strongly, as you can tell, about the necessity of us getting involved in our own spiritual journey, not just taking some person's word without examining it. I think that is part of our job to be actively engaged in the search, the quest.
Wars, anti-Semitism, violence, exclusion of some, anger and hatred, all are children of religious ignorance.
The Good News of The Way of Christ has been smeared with bad history. In some cases, only a tiny ray of the original peeks out. I challenge you to go on the most important quest of your life. Search for history, for what it all meant to people of the day. Go on a time travel adventure, through the muck of ignorance to the bedrock of truth.