Bill Hamblin: End of Debate?

Bill Hamblin is presently not saying much in our continuing debate. Frankly, I am pretty much done with the whole thing, and plan to end my contributions to the exchanges, unless he specifically makes any statements demanding a direct response. For me, the whole Book of Mormon thing is about historical methodology, rather than that [Read More...]

Debating Ancient Book of Mormon Fantasies

I have been engaged in exchanges with Bill Hamblin at his blog, on the subject of the historicity of the Book of Mormon. My responses to his most recent posts are presently forming a sizable backlog, which I thought I would clear here. Throughout, the “you” refers to Dr. Hamblin. He is of course welcome [Read More...]

Of Bill Hamblin, History and the Book of Mormon

I have been engaged in a debate of sorts with Bill Hamblin on the historicity of the Book of Mormon, over at his blog, Enigmatic Mirror. (For the uninitiated, he is a prominent figure in “Ancient Book of Mormon Studies”). He is a trooper about posting my stuff on his site,  which I appreciate. Meanwhile, [Read More...]

Apples, Oranges and Nephites

Neil Rappleye is a Book of Mormon apologist. He recently did a piece about me at his blog, under the title The Goose and the Gander, and he is fully entitled to take issue with me on anything and everything. I don’t intend to respond to every criticism or comment he makes, but I am [Read More...]

The Book of Mormon, Revisited

No, that’s not a reference to the musical. In recent weeks, I have posted several items concerning the historicity or literal veracity of the Book of Mormon, and have had some exchanges with Dr. Bill Hamblin at his blog (a debate that he suggested and initiated). You can see my latest (lengthy) contribution here: [Read More...]

The Nahom Follies

I wasn’t planning to write this piece, but so many of the comments on my earlier Book of Mormon posts have raised a particular point, and I don’t want it to seem that by ignoring it, I am conceding its value. The story also says much about how an authentic academic find metastasizes into popular [Read More...]

Myth-History and Real History

Over the past few weeks, I have been posting about the Book of Mormon, and you can check out those various items as you wish. Not surprisingly, my posts called forth a sizable number of comments and reactions, many quite intense, and a small number abusive and obscene. Here, though, I would like to react [Read More...]

What Scholars Do

I have been discussing the historical credentials of the Book of Mormon, in order to illustrate the differences between mainstream and fringe scholarship. Briefly, the history that the book supplies of the pre-Columbian Americas is wholly fictitious, and should never be treated as literal historical truth. We are free to discuss its merits as spiritual [Read More...]

Ordinary Faith and Extraordinary History

As a historical source on the ancient Americas, the Book of Mormon is worthless. That observation, though, has not the slightest impact on the existence or growth of the LDS church, nor should it. Just why that is the case tells us much about the relationship between the claims of any faith and the reasons [Read More...]

Wandering Over the Plains of the Nephites


In my last post, on the Book of Mormon, I asked a question: Does the Book contain a statement or idea about the New World that Joseph Smith could not have known at the time, but which has subsequently been validated by archaeological or historical research? I mention this point because the apologist literature includes [Read More...]