An amazing reaction to the “Chiasmus Jubilee”

    This afternoon, we saw a good production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The audience really liked it.  And then, this evening, we watched what I considered a very, very good version of As You Like It.  The play is an uneven one; there are wonderful passages but also some parts that, in my view at least, drag just a bit.  But this production was about as good as one could make it, I think.  In several respects, at… Read more

Some notes on why I signed that brief for the U.S. Supreme Court

    Why did I sign the amicus brief for the Supreme Court regarding Mr. Trump’s proposed travel restrictions?  (See “Mormon Scholars File Brief Attacking Trump’s Muslim Ban.”)   For a number of reasons.   I’ll hastily mention some of them here.  (I need to be out the door shortly.  We’re in southern Utah.  Yesterday afternoon, we took in a very good performance of Guys and Dolls at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.  Last night, we watched a solid version of… Read more

“The Next Big Thing in LDS Apologetics: Strong Semitic and Egyptian Elements in Uto-Aztecan Languages”

    It being Friday, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture has published a new article, titled “The Next Big Thing in LDS Apologetics: Strong Semitic and Egyptian Elements in Uto-Aztecan Languages” and written by the invaluable Jeff Lindsay, a member of the Interpreter Foundation’s board.   Dr. Lindsay’s article represents a more extensive discussion of a body of work that I sought to highlight in a 1 June 2017 column for the Deseret News:  “Near Eastern languages in ancient… Read more

Presenting the new book to Jack Welch

    This is the third and probably the last of my reports on the “Chiasmus Jubilee” that was held on Wednesday night at Brigham Young University, culminating a two-day academic conference on campus devoted to the subject of chiasmus in the scriptures and other ancient texts.  The previous two were   “A first report on Wednesday evening’s gala event”   and   “Elder Holland Speaks at Book of Mormon Chiasmus Conference”   I offer, below, a text of the… Read more

“Elder Holland Speaks at Book of Mormon Chiasmus Conference”

    We drove southward this morning for our annual pilgrimage to the Utah Shakespeare Festival, our long-time end-of-summer ritual. This afternoon, we saw Treasure Island.  This evening, we attended a performance of Shakespeare in Love.  For a change, though, we’re staying in St. George — a town of which I’m really fond.   ***   I’m pleased at the speed with which the LDS Newsroom has posted something about the “Chiasmus Jubilee” at BYU on Wednesday night that closed a two-day… Read more

“Mormon Scholars File Brief Attacking Trump’s Muslim Ban”

    Some here may find this press release of interest:   MORMON SCHOLARS FILE BRIEF ATTACKING TRUMP’S MUSLIM BAN   August 18, 2017 – Earlier today, a group of 21 scholars of Mormon history filed a brief in the United States Supreme Court attacking President Trump’s ban on refugees and immigrants from six Muslim countries. The brief tells the story of government attacks on Mormon immigration in the 19th century. This history, it urges, shows the need for exacting… Read more

A first report on Wednesday evening’s gala event

    We had a remarkable evening at the “Chiasmus Jubilee” on Wednesday night.  Interesting video presentations, wonderful music, and important remarks by Elder Kim B. Clark of the Seventy, who also serves as Church Commissioner of Education, and by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve, as well as by visiting scholars (including an Indian Jesuit).  Fortunately, the event was recorded, and it will eventually — and I think reasonably soon — be up on line.  … Read more

Some notes toward an essay on the resurrection of Jesus

    Helmut Koester writes that the appearances of Jesus “cannot very well be questioned.”[1]  “We can say with complete certainty,” writes the agnostic New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman, “that some of his disciples at some later time insisted that he soon appeared to them. . . .  Historians, of course, have no difficulty whatsoever speaking about the belief in Jesus’ resurrection, since it is a matter of public record.”[2]  [“At some later time”?  Early.]  Traugott Holtz declares that the… Read more

Out of the ancient Near East

    I’m writing from the floor of the ongoing conference on chiasmus here at Brigham Young University.  Thus far, we’ve heard from Gary Rendsburg, Steven Scott, and BYU’s own Jack Welch.  It’s all been Middle Eastern, whether the Epic of Gilgamesh or biblical.  But now for something completely different:  We’re currently listening to Professor Kerry Hull of Brigham Young University, who is speaking about “Chiastic Messaging in Mesoamerican Texts.”   ***   Looming over me, however, is the approaching… Read more

“Black Mormons applaud as LDS Church condemns white supremacy as ‘morally wrong and sinful’”

    I posted last night about the updated statement from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and attendant issues:   “Church Issues Statement on Situation in Charlottesville, Virginia”   Although almost everybody is happy about this statement, there are at least one or two exceptions.   Here’s some follow-up material:   “Black Mormons applaud as LDS Church condemns white supremacy as ‘morally wrong and sinful’”   “LDS Church rebukes Mormon… Read more