“Did Jesus Exist? A Debate”

Rembrandt painting of Simeon and the infant Jesus

  The invaluable Robert Boylan calls attention to a really interesting debate: http://scripturalmormonism.blogspot.ie/2015/10/did-jesus-exist-debate.html I've briefly addressed this question of the existence of Jesus in at least three Deseret News columns (here, here, and here).  I readily admit that I regard the claim that Jesus never lived at all as eccentric and as largely driven by ideology and by the internet rather than by solid academic … [Read more...]

“Emilie du Châtelet: The Woman Science Forgot”

Mathematician and mistress

  You may well be familiar with her, but I wasn't: https://cosmosmagazine.com/mathematics/emilie-du-chatelet-woman-science-forgot I can easily imagine a Hollywood movie made about her, someday.  After all, her story contains two of the features that Hollywood values most, sex and female beauty, and it readily lends itself to the film industry's overwhelming ideological agenda. As a title, how about A Beautiful M … [Read more...]

Good times and good people

Plato and Aristotle

  One of the many enjoyable benefits of academic conferences is spending time with old friends.  Sometimes, even when they're at your own institution, you just don't see them much. Yesterday, during a break in the 2015 meetings of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology, I had lunch with Ralph Hancock and Noel Reynolds, the latter of whom had given a fine plenary paper the night before on the literary structure of 1 Nephi and 2 Nephi.  (Coincidentally, a … [Read more...]

“U.S. Official: ‘Psychological Blow’ in ISIS Killing of Iranian General in Syria”

Inadequate for my purposes, but free and available

  Iran's intervention in the Syrian civil war is beginning to cost significant Iranian casualties: http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/09/politics/iran-general-killed-syria-isis/index.html And Russia, too, may soon begin to pay a toll. It's difficult to know exactly for whom we should be rooting in the new Russo-Iranian- and ISIS-dominated Levant and Mesopotamia.   … [Read more...]

John Taylor, on Joseph Smith

Sepia toned photo of John Taylor

  “I was acquainted with Joseph Smith for years,” remarked John Taylor, the English Methodist convert who was seriously wounded in Carthage Jail when Joseph was assassinated and who ultimately became the third president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.I have traveled with him; I have been with him in private and in public; I have associated with him in councils of all kinds; I have listened hundreds of times to his public teachings, and his advice to h … [Read more...]

“Mormonism among the World Religions”

In SLC's Convention Center

  Some of you may be aware that the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions will be held in Salt Lake City next week, at the Salt Palace Convention Center. I was a quite active participant in the Parliament when it was held in Melbourne in 2009.  This go-around, my public participation will be considerably more modest, but I'll be there. Specifically, I'll be joining with Drs. Brian Birch of Utah Valley University and Blair Van Dyke of the Orem … [Read more...]

Of cleverness and kindness

A. J. Heschel 1964

  "When I was young, I admired clever people.  Now that I am old, I admire kind people." Abraham Joshua Heschel    … [Read more...]

Gérald Caussé named fifteenth Presiding Bishop of the Church


  http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/new-presiding-bishopric-causse-davies-waddell Another predictably bland Utah guy, he was born in Bordeaux, France -- which is, apparently, not too far from Paris, Idaho.  (I'm an American, so my geographical knowledge is a bit shaky.)   … [Read more...]