My Oct. 8 fireside in Claremont will be repeated in Rochester MN on October 22. (Flyer) It’s on “Reading the Old Testament in Context” and is a version of my Sperry Symposium presentation which will be in Provo, October 28. The firesides and presentation are an adapted form of the 25-page paper I submitted for Sperry, so the paper has some things the presentations won’t and vice-versa. So I’ve decided to take that paper, and will just post it in sections here… Read more

If you live in the Los Angeles area, I’ll be giving a fireside on October 8, entitled “Reading the Old Testament in Context.” Flyer (PDF). As you might guess, this presentation is oriented more towards understanding the Old Testament, reading it like an Israelite or a Hebrew scholar, than devotional or personal application readings of the Old Testament. Those aren’t entirely separate categories, but I assume most Mormons are experienced in the latter and not so much in the former. I will… Read more

I received a trio of books recently, so I’m providing some brief thoughts on what I’ve read so far. First, Evolution and the Fall is an anthology of essays edited by William Cavanaugh and James Smith. The latter was featured on the MI Podcast talking about secularism and his book How Not to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor. Of course, I had just submitted the final version of an article on the nature and translation of Adam in Genesis 2-3 (my paper from the… Read more

You have likely heard that a member of the 70 was recently released and excommunicated. Elder Hamula was the mission president of a member of the bishopric who spoke in the ward I visited today. He reminded me of two things. First, I have sometimes wryly remarked that perhaps Mormons would be less inclined to put Church leaders on high pedestals if they fell from them more often, since the last Apostle excommunicated was Elder Richard R. Lyman in 1943…. Read more

My FairMormon presentation reiterated parts of two previous papers I have presented. That text should be online soon (as I understand.) Below I offer the very rough presentation text from the two previous papers. The society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology paper, with lots of my raw material. LINK. My MSH paper,”Science, Scripture, And Secularism: Rethinking some Inherited Assumptions.” LINK Below are some books I would recommend. (These are, of course, not LDS, not approved by the Church, I have some disagreements,… Read more

The Maxwell Institute Seminar draws to an end with a public conference this Thursday. I’ll be speaking at 9:40 on Mormonism as Rough Stone Rolling: Towards a Theology of Encountering the World. The full schedule is below.   “Mormonism Engages the World” Thursday, August 3 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM MST Brigham Young University Joseph F. Smith Building Education in Zion Theater Co-sponsored by the Mormon Scholars Foundation and the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship MORNING SESSION 9:30 AM Welcome and… Read more

In the LDS Perspectives podcast, I alluded to this passage from Kenton Sparks’ section in Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither?: Three Views on the Bible’s Earliest Chapters. I think he captures very concisely and clearly the nature of genre; A genre is a pattern, established by identifying the characteristics it has in common with other similar things. This is why it’s so important to study ancient Near Eastern literature outside the Bible. By putting the Bible in conversation with texts from roughly the same time and… Read more

I was interviewed last year for the LDS Perspectives podcast, which I recommend. Therein, I allude to a lot of different books and papers, linked below. I also cited John Widtsoe on genre, from his 1930 book In Search of Truth available online here.  Widtsoe said, “As in all good books every literary device is used in the Bible that will drive the lesson home. It contains history, poetry and allegory. These are not always distinguishable, now that the centuries have passed away since… Read more

In a little less than a month, I’ll be speaking at the FAIRMormon Conference in Provo. Titled Truth, Scripture, and Interpretation: Some Precursors to Reading Genesis, my paper will be about the importance of recognizing the presuppositions we make when interpretating scripture. We can use various metaphors for this. Each of us (including inspired prophets and apostles) has a Black Box made up of worldview and presuppositions about revelation, prophets, and scripture. The contents of the box differ for every person, time, and culture…. Read more

I’ve not had a lot of time to write here recently. I have done a lot of driving and listened to some good lecture series about the history and philosophy of science, religion, and evolution, so this post is mostly about cataloguing and sharing. I’ve been impressed again at just how unaware we are of our own modern worldview and assumptions, and the story of how we come to conceptualize the world as we do, post-Enlightenment, post-Scientific Revolution. Much of… Read more

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