Ugh. Poor Thanissaro. This kind of thing will probably follow him and overshadow his many contributions now.
I havent read that quote in context but if I understand him correctly (from that oft-quoted passage) something similar is pretty much, but in a more generalized fashion suggested by Rupert Gethin in The Buddhist Path to Awakening. I dont have the book handy and cant quote directly but I think it might have been in one of the introductory chapters.
His main point as I understood it was that in Western philosophy various subjects are usually discussed or treated and debated in isolation from other subjects, such as metaphysics, phenomenology, ontology, ethics, aesthetics, politics and so on. We have a general and traditional tendency to read other philosophies and world views that way because of it. So, for example, to take something like Sila or Anatta or Dependent Origination etc on their own, as self contained doctrines or philosophical positions, without reference to the rest of the overall, deeply interconnected Buddhist framework and purpose, will more often than not be fraught with problems of context, distortion, over or under-emphasis, translation and much more.
So, at least in Gethin's case, he felt that the scholarly literature suffered quite a bit from this and with support for his reasoning explains that he felt offering a truer more holistic picture of Buddhist thought overall, entails situating categorizing, contextualizing and organizing the bewildering number of, and confusingly organized, collections of suttas into a framework of a path of practice rather than reified, self contained philosophical and metaphysical stances. In other words, like Thanissaro seems to me to be saying, things are taught, and often repeated in a huge variety of differnt circumstances or in different variations of lists and whatnot, specifically as a peagogical strategy aimed at liberation, avoiding views that could impede liberation, promoting views that aid liberation, at a very practical level. And, fwiw, I believe this makes a great deal of sense to relate to Buddhist concepts in this way.
I have seen many people develop real hot buttons, quirks, obsessions, crusades, even learn Pali, over this and a few other issues (like Emptiness - yikes). It consumes them, they argue, debate, harrass others. All to "prove" what the Buddha really meant.
Call me crazy but I dont think thats helpful for practice, understanding or comparative philosophy/religious studies.