Gospel Doctrine Lesson 21: 1Samuel 1-3, 8 (updated)


First, here is my podcast for this lesson. Now, as we move into books like Samuel and Kings that are more historical in nature, we need to discuss just what that means. How should we read and understand these? … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine 20- Ruth and Samuel 1 (updated!)

Ruth and Naomi, from http://www.womeninthebible.net/paintings_ruth.htm

Today, I guess we're focusing entirely on Ruth, and then just on a small section of Ruth. (I'd really like to write a long article for Ruth as I did for Judah and Tamar, but my list of projects is long.) Ruth is a short and masterful novella. If you haven't read it yet, give it a quick read. It's four chapters, minimal characters. I'll assume you know the story for the rest of this post. Update But I do have a podcast on Samuel 1, here! … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine 20- Ruth Podcast, listen ahead of time!


I have my last major exam coming up, so Ruth/Samuel won't go up until Saturday. Ruth is a really important book for grasping the concrete Israelite idea of "redemption." I presented a conference paper last year  about redemption and two other Israelite ideas that have all merged in LDS thought (redemption, salvation, and atonement), which will be published in Fall... once I clean it up and submit it, after the MCAT is over.In the meantime, I strongly suggest you go listen to my Ruth podcast a … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine 19- Judges


(I have two exams this week, and two the week after, so I needed to get this out early.)The Book of Judges begins with the death of Joshua, and is arranged in very distinct and obvious cycles: Israel prospers, forgets God and embraces idolatry, is allowed to be enslaved/captured by its neighbors until it repents, and then God raises up a charismatic military leader or "judge" who delivers Israel from captivity. Wash, rinse, repeat. … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine lesson 18- Joshua


We are now out of the Pentateuch, into what's called the Deuteronomistic History, or DH.This refers to the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine 17: Deuteronomy


“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Mat 22:36-40 KJV)I begin with this familiar passage because it bears directly on our study of Deuteronomy. It illustrates two things. … [Read more...]

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 16: Numbers 22-24, 31(updated)

Balaam, the donkey, and the angel

These chapters are all about Balaam, Balaam's talking donkey, God's power, blessing and cursing. The manual chooses as subtitle "I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord" and describes its purpose as "to encourage class members to submit to God's will without hesitation."First off, I think without any parsing, that's a dangerously overstated thing to say. And secondly, even when parsed... I think it's dangerously overstated. Why? … [Read more...]

Short Gospel Doctrine Lesson 15: Numbers 11-14, 21


The Book of Numbers takes its English name from the Greek Septuagint title, a description of the census-taking in its first four chapters. The Hebrew title is a bit more descriptive, bemidbar, "in the wilderness." … [Read more...]