Greek/Hebrew Followup: Another Demo and more Free Stuff Through March 1

It’s Logos’ 25th Anniversary, and they’re offering a $25 coupon through March 1. That means it’s a great time to invest in some of the supplementary Old Testament resources I suggested (below), or N.T. Wright books, or Peter Enns, or John Walton, or Jodi Magness’ book on Daily Life in the Time of Jesus, or a line-by-line commentary on how the New Testament uses the Old Testament, or why modern translations differ in the New Testament, or Tikva Frymer-Kensky’s JPS Commentary on Ruth,… Read more

The Complexities of History in The Ensign

I still haven’t had time for the second post in my Transitional Mormonism series, but I promise to make time soonish. I want to highlight an important Ensign article in the February 2017 issue, “Understanding Church History by Study and Faith.” Written by the Church History Library Director Keith Erikson, it makes some important points that are not always obvious or instinctive to non-historians. Erikson echoes several points made in another important Ensign article about history 40 years ago, by Elder G. Homer Durham. I draw… Read more

How to Use Greek and Hebrew: New and Improved

I’ll get back to my Transitional Mormonism and Tradition, but I was really excited about this development.  I’ve seen several bad uses  flagrant abuses of original languages recently by people who don’t actually know the languages. They’re typically relying on Strong’s Concordance, which can be used legitimately (see my article here, the section called “original language resources”) but 99% of the time, Strong’s is abused by people who just don’t know better. They use it as a lexicon, as a guide to meaning,… Read more

Transitional Mormonism and Tradition: Part 1

I wrote the last post while traveling and have just started a new and busy semester, and so didn’t respond at all to the thirty-odd comments there. I’ll address them and some related issues, instead, in a multi-part series. I’ll get into what I mean by “transitional Mormonism” in the next post, but it’s nothing to do with “faith journeys,” “stages of faith” or anything like that.  Peter Enns is both an Evangelical who holds the Bible in very high… Read more

Mormon Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It?

Occasionally, one hears Mormons (usually laypeople) critiquing Protestants for slavish and uncritical interpretation of the Bible, for “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” kind of bibliolatry. Certainly, some Protestants merit this critique. The intellectual crisis and problems among Protestants, and their effects on American culture and politics have been written about extensively by Mark Noll (e.g. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind), Randall Balmer, George Marsden, Grant Wacker, Kenton Sparks, and others. These scholars are themselves largely Evangelical, so it’s… Read more

Quick Thoughts on D&C 1:30 “the only true and living Church”

A few scattered thoughts on what “the only true and living Church” might and might not mean. (more…) Read more

The Blog in the Coming Year and D&C

I’ve agonized a bit over how to handle D&C this year. Here’s what I have decided and why. If you compare my posts from the last few months to virtually any of my Old Testament posts, you’ll notice a distinct difference in length and quality. I’ve not been very happy with what I put out for the 2nd half of the Book of Mormon; I’ve taught that half much less, and so had far fewer blog-ready notes. I’ve also been wrestling with challenging coursework and… Read more

Santa Claus is Canaanite! Really.

I’ve plugged Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 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 in a way non-scholars can profit from. It’s scholarly, includes multiple perspectives, and the letters to the editor are illustrative and amusing. Worth subscribing to. One of my favorite articles was written by William H.C. Propp, a… Read more

New/Forthcoming books of Interest

Update: Between now and Dec 5, get 5$ off any physical Amazon book order of 15$ or more. Details here. One of the things I love about the massive American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature conference is the football’s field worth of booksellers with discounts, new books, preorders, and giveaways. A few recent and forthcoming popular books might be of interest to my readers. To be clear, I haven’t read any of these yet, but I hope to. (more…) Read more

BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 45-46: Ether

A few general notes about the Book of Ether. First, unlike the other two Book of Mormon migratory peoples, the Jaredites (as we call them) are not Jews under the Law of Moses. Abraham>Isaac>Jacob (Israel)>>>>Moses. They’re not even Israelite (also a late term) or Canaanite, but Mesopotamian. So they are operating under a different set of religious ideas, different language (Sumerian, Akkadian, something else? Hebrew isn’t an option), different cultural background than the rest of the Book of Mormon. And indeed, Ether has a different… Read more

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