Let’s talk about origins. We seem to think origins are important; “where we came from” forms a part of our our identity, helps us understand ourselves. This is pretty deeply embedded and reinforced in our culture in a number of ways.  Superhero movies tend to begin with an origin story. Even Batman movies, as often as we’ve seen it and as much as we know it, typically begin by retelling the trauma of young Bruce seeing his parents shot. Jennifer… Read more

This is the first of my Old Testament Gospel Doctrine posts. (Yes, it’s Lesson 3. Mea Culpa.) I’ll be updating my old posts and changing the date on them so they reapper.  Inigo Montoya sums this lesson almost perfectly. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.  Actually, I don’t feel we can even sum up here. (more…) Read more

Several years ago, I was involved in the Mormon Theology Seminar on Genesis 2-3. The conference from that seminar was recently published to good reviews, and contains a paper of mine about translation and the meaning of names in Genesis 2-3. (The short version is, “Adam” and “Eve” here should have been translated not as proper names, but as Human and Life. I also explain why, then, they got translated as Adam and Eve.) To kick off the seminar, I provided an… Read more

UVU’s annual Mormon Studies Conference will be held (and streamed!) February 22-23. The topic is Heaven & Earth: Mormonism and the Challenges of Science, Revelation, and Faith Presentation titles are not available yet, but topics over the two days include Day 1 Mormonism and Evolution (Steven Peck offering the Eugene England Memorial Lecture, Jamie Jensen, and me) Science & the Critical Study of Scripture (David Bokovoy, Philip Barlow) Day 2 Keynote Address by Molly Worthen, author of Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority… Read more

  So, here’s the background of my click-bait post. I address several of these in my podcast on Genesis 1, or previous posts. Genesis 1 really likes the number 7. Can you spot all the multiples of 7 in there? You probably can’t, because even if you read Hebrew, these are not all exactly obvious. “After the introductory verse (1:1), the section is divided into seven paragraphs, each of which appertains to one of the seven days….Each of the three… Read more

I hate click-baity listicles, especially the ones that make you click for each new picture. So I figured, why not do a click-baity listicle? These are just as likely to help you lose weight as any of those others, even if I don’t offer “this one weird trick.” So, here you go. Genesis 1 really likes the number 7. Can you spot all the multiples of 7 in there? As we have it today, Genesis 1 is the work of… Read more

First, there’s a Kindle sale on some John Walton books I recommend, including some I haven’t read yet in the Lost World series. Lost World of Genesis 1; Lost World of Genesis 2-3; Lost World of the Israelite Conquest; Lost World of Scripture (about Israelite oral culture). This post of recommendations focuses on the history and culture of the Old Testament. I’ve bolded my simple choices for those who don’t want lots of detailed options.   First, my free accessible stuff… Read more

One of the best ways for laypeople to learn about the history, text, interpretation, archaeology, and lands of the Bible is through reading Biblical Archaeology Review. In spite of the name, it’s not just about archaeology. It used to have a sister magazine called Bible Review which was more focused on text and interpretation, but they’ve been combined. BAR (the frequent acronym) contains writings by scholars (Jewish, Christian, LDS, nothing particular) written for laypeople, so it’s meant to be accessible and up-to-date…. Read more

LDS Perspectives interviewed me about my book on Genesis 1, which is still in progress. The beginning of the Old Testament is challenging for a number of reasons. It’s foreign, it’s inconsistent (two creation stories?), it interfaces with history and science in uncomfortable and controversial ways (evolution, “giants”/”sons of god” marrying “daughters of men,” the flood, etc.) And then for Mormons, add in the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and the Temple, which parallel these chapters. Now if you… Read more

You might have noticed an op-ed on Mormonism and evolution in the Salt Lake Tribune by me, responding to discussion of the place of evolution in Utah science standards. I’m a historian of religion/science with some scientific training, not a scientist, so I generally leave detailed argument and refinement to the actual scientists. But history can tell us a lot here. I’m convinced that evolution and faith in God can coexist. The short version is, Mormonism has no official position… Read more

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