BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 16: Mosiah 4-6

Once again, I'd remind you of the book on King Benjamin's speech (paper here), and the verse-by-verse commentary in it.I'll be adding my own bits which don't overlap, and happen to be, well, on quasi-controversial topics.First, on a general note, "wisdom" appears several times (2:17, 36; 4:6, 9, 27; 5:15). In the Old Testament, wisdom is a very specific technical term, referring to understanding how one should live a happy, successful life. We tend to think ALL scripture was written for t … [Read more...]

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BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 15: Mosiah 1-3

To open, we need some big picture structural discussion.Mosiah 1 is not Mosiah 1. In fact, it is Mosiah 3, and the first two chapters are missing. How do we know this?First, Book of Mormon books tend to be named after the first and major character, but Mosiah opens with... Benjamin, not his father Mosiah1.Second, books usually get some kind of intro, but Mosiah starts in media res- "AND now there was no more contention in all the land of Zarahemla, among all the people who belonged to … [Read more...]

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Joseph F. Smith on Evolution and Teaching in Church Schools

The general thrust of my research over the next few years will be science, religion, and history, centered around evolution and scriptural interpretation. I'll post various things from time to time. The following comes from The Juvenile Instructor, Vol XLVI No. 4 (April 1911): 208-9. BYU had just undergone a controversy of sorts about evolution, the nature of the Bible, and some other intertwined issues. See my post here. Writing in the Church's magazine, President Joseph F. Smith, in the 10th ye … [Read more...]

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Ten Intro Books for Getting a Handle on the Early Chapters of Genesis

A friend recently asked for a list of books to read as an intro to the issues in Genesis 1-3 as well as the Moses and Abraham parallels.  I focused on the former, because there's not a whole lot dealing with the latter. I have a few chapters on it in my book, so I could write a separate post, if desired. When I taught my Institute class on Genesis a few years ago, I wrote a summary of each week. I treat Moses and Abraham briefly, here.The books below are generally introductary volumes from di … [Read more...]

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BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 9: 2Ne 11-25

Last week was insane, and I didn't get a post up. Today I'm trying and failing to  catch up, so my offering this week is meager.First, a PSA. Someone asked me a question about the Amazon support links I post at the bottom. They had clicked on it and gone to Amazon looking for a special tick box or option that said "Benjamin the Scribe," because that's how some of Amazon's other programs work. I'm part of the Amazon Associates program, which means that there's nothing special you need to cl … [Read more...]

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BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 8: 2Ne 6-10

It's been a hectic week, I'm on the road without wifi, and Patheos did some upgrades this week causing some technical issues with my blog. I'll try to correct/expand as possible.And first, Joseph Spencer's book on typology and the Book of Mormon appears to finally be back in print. Good stuff, and relevant to today's material as well as Nephi's interpretive Isaiah material.Jacob is speaking by assignment on a topic from Nephi. (2Ne 6:4), which topic is Isaiah. Now, if you’ve read my Old T … [Read more...]

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BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 7: 2 Nephi 3-5

A bit of news, connected to today's lesson. (If you haven't read the last one, you absolutely must for the proper background to this one.) One of my interests that happens to be both academic and pastoral involves the nature of scripture and inspiration. I'll be presenting a paper April 8/9 at the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities Conference on "Science, Scripture, and Secularism: Rethinking Some Common Assumptions" which will verge into this territory. I see a spectrum of views about … [Read more...]

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BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 6: 2 Nephi 1-2

A post up before Saturday night! Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles...Today we enter into 2 Nephi, which immediately raises the question, why is there a second Nephi? What's the motivation for the break in 1 and 2 Nephi? In the divided books of the Old Testament, it was largely due to practical concerns; When translated into Greek, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles were each too long to fit on one scroll, and split into two, hence 1 and 2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings.Brant Gardner points out in h … [Read more...]

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