Announcing Moggett, guest bloggers, and some minor housekeeping

First, I'm pleased to announce that I will be having guest bloggers joining me from time to time in the upcoming year. First up is Mogget, who was a co-blogger with me before I left FaithPromotingRumor, and has a PhD in Biblical Studies. Whereas my graduate studies were heavy on language and philology, Mogs actually had some theology and interpretation, so expect good-but-different things, very soon. … [Read more...]

Brief NT Introduction and Gospel Doctrine Lesson 1: John 1:1-14, Isa 61:1-3, JST Luke 3:4-11

Public domain, from wikipedia.

Let's start the new year by reminding ourselves how little we know, with a brief quiz. (That's the grouchy academic in me, throwing a surprise pretest on the first day of class.)1) Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John: which are apostles and which are not?2) Describe the nativity according to Mark.  (HT: Ronan's post.)3) Which Gospel gives us the detail about the mean innkeeper, who turned away Joseph and Mary?If you want to see more such questions, and the midterm and final I gave my … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 48: Zechariah, Malachi

Malachi, by Duccio di Buoninsegna. (Public domain, via wikimedia.)

Several of the aspects of Zechariah have already been treated, such as water flowing out from the temple and future prophecies in general. All I would add is this wisdom from Elder Maxwell. The chiliast, one who believes in a second coming of Christ that will usher in a millennial reign, has special challenges in reading signs. First, he is urged to notice lest he be caught unawares. Second, he must be aware of how many false readings and alarms there have been in bygone days, even by the f … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 47: Ezra 1–8; Nehemiah 1–2; 4; 6; 8

Cyrus Cylinder in the British Museum. Image from Prioryman.

Ezra and Nehemiah originally constituted one book, so it works to treat them together. Let’s review the timeframe and story here.586- Babylonian destruction of Temple, the walls of Jerusalem, and beginning of the Exile to Babylon. Although it is probably a more complex issue, this event, in my mind at least, constitutes the historical dividing line between “Israelites” and “Jews.” The events of the Exile change the culture and religion, pushing it to develop in the direction we see afterward … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 46: Daniel 2

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Today we focus on Daniel 2, a vision.  The story goes like this.In King Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd year, he has a dream. (According to Daniel 1:1-2, Daniel and friends don't get carried off until Neb's third year, although they're present here.) Either he can't remember what it was (like many of us) or he's being unreasonable. Either way, he demands all his wise men tell him both the dream itself, and the interpretation. When they can't, he wants them all killed for incompetence. Daniel hears ab … [Read more...]

Santa Claus is Canaanite! Really.

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I've plugged Biblical Archaeology Review before, a great magazine (with pictures!) aimed at interested laypeople.  It used to have a sister-magazine called Bible Review, but then they were folded together so that BAR now deals with texts, history, and archaeology of the Bible. It's scholarly, includes multiple perspectives, and the letters to the editor are illustrative and amusing.One of my favorites was written by William H.C. Propp, a Jewish scholar of the Hebrew Bible at UCSD. I spent an … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 45: Daniel 1,3,6 AND Esther 3-5, 7-8.

Four in the Furnace, by Ted Larson

Today we are (sigh) covering Daniel AND Esther, although next week is devoted solely to Daniel 2. What's interesting is how the comparison between Daniel and Esther actually serves the manual's purpose, which is to "help class members have the courage to live according to gospel standards." How so? Daniel doesn’t hide his Jewishness, even being a bit extravagant, while Esther is apparently able to pass, to fly under the radar as a non-Jew. Significant, perhaps, that "noticeably absent [in Es … [Read more...]

Recommended NT Resources Part 3

(Cross-posted at Times&Seasons.) First, Amazon is offering 30% off any book you buy for the next two days. Great time to pick up that hardcover Jewish Study Bible,  Jewish Annotated New Testament, NRSV, or similar "expensive" hardcover you can't get otherwise. Amazon link.Short list.This was really hard to put together, much more than my OT list.  … [Read more...]