October 13, 2018

As always, there’s a lot going on in these chapters. First, and majorly, is the issue of Second Isaiah. Much scholarship, dating back a few hundred years, recognizes that Isaiah 39 onwards differs markedly from the preceding chapters. It differs in terms of setting (Babylon instead of Assyria, which means a jump forward of 150 years), assumptions, theme, tone, and vocabulary. They’re not a complete break, but it’s significant enough that most scholars have concluded what scholars tend to conclude;… Read more

October 9, 2018

 I have more thoughts on group and family study to supplement replace our lost hour of Church, but in the meantime, this post (originally 2011, reposted last year) might be helpful.  I plug modern Bible translations one way or another in virtually everything I write and teach. Now that you have two or three translations, how do you integrate them into your family study or teaching? Here’s one suggestion. Our family of two is not very large, so schedules aren’t hard to coordinate…. Read more

September 30, 2018

This is a long post, with four sections, but I ask you to read it because I think it’s important. I first explain the nature of my concern, the two emblematic issues involved, and conclude by inviting you to do something. Intro/Why I’m concerned The 2019 Seminary manual for Old Testament is now available. I skimmed through some early bits, and I’m concerned for the future faith of our LDS youth. My concern can be summed up with this: we treat… Read more

September 19, 2018

First, to continue from last week, is Isaiah’s love of wordplay and pun, which drives much of Isaiah’s word choice. Although we call this “wordplay” in English (or paronomasia, if you’re being technical) this was for literary effect and making it memorable; not for cleverness or frivolous entertainment. For example, in 24:17 we read Isaiah speaking of “terror, a pit, and a snare.” These nouns are pachad, wa-pachat, wa-pach (wa meaning “and” here, a conjunction) See the  Anchor Bible Dictionary article, “Wordplay”. The lesson… Read more

September 8, 2018

Normally I’d begin with a link to my podcast and transcript… except it appears that while I wrote 90% of a podcast in 2010, I never recorded it. Amos was the last podcast I put up. Consider this an intro to Isaiah. I have a confession. I’ve never really cared much for Isaiah. I’ve always found other parts of the Old Testament more interesting. When writing a podcast, I always go consult my preexisting notes I’ve prepared from personal study or teaching… Read more

September 6, 2018

Yes, everyone’s favorite book is upon us. I’m not sure there’s any sarcasm there; I know lots of Mormons who love Isaiah, and even have an uncle who memorized the entire book (in the KJV.) The next 5 Gospel Doctrine lessons cover Isaiah, so I wanted to plug a few things. Of all the books, Isaiah benefits most from both deep connections to the spirit and being able to read in context. I don’t talk much about the former, it’s not really quantifiable,… Read more

September 3, 2018

BYU’s Late Summer Honors offered a course recently called, “What Does it Mean to be Human? A Scientific and Spiritual Journey into Human Origins.” I was invited to take a 3-hr class period to talk about what Genesis has to say about evolution and the place of humanity in creation. I’ve presented much of what I said before, in other venues, but virtually everything was new to these freshman honors students. By necessity, I tried to keep it simple and… Read more

August 26, 2018

I really like Amos; so much, in fact, that I’m ignoring Joel completely today. I have a podcast on Amos here, much of which is reflected in the text below. Amos is a powerful straight-shooting no-nonsense guy, but also subversive,  “confrontational and abrasive. There is no attempt to win over the people he condemns.” (Collins, Introduction  to  the  Hebrew  Bible: An  Inductive  Reading  of  the  Old Testament) Contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea, Amos hails from Tekoa, a small village 10 miles south of… Read more

August 15, 2018

First off, my podcast and transcript on Hosea are here. The manual suggests primary focus on Hosea 1-3 (the marriage metaphor) and 11, 13, 14 (invitations to repent.) However, Hosea is not long, and reading the whole thing in preparation is fairly quick. I also recommend this post from the Mormon Women Project. (more…) Read more

August 15, 2018

Jonah Jonah is four short chapters. I’ve done a lot with Jonah in the past, addressing the short book several times, from several angles, including the history question. In brief, if you’re focused on the “whale” instead of the last four verses of chapter 4, you’re entirely missing the point. (more…) Read more

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