“Business Insider”: “Role of blacks in Mormon faith topic of conference”

First temple on Hispaniola

  http://www.businessinsider.com/ap-role-of-blacks-in-mormon-faith-topic-of-conference-2015-10   … [Read more...]

“Why, why, O Lord, why do you reward me thus?”

Hadrian's Mausoleum

  Immediately after the closing session of the 2015 conference of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology early this evening, my wife and I hurtled up to Salt Lake City for the Utah Opera's very good production of Puccini's Tosca. One of the most famous pieces from that opera is the aria "Vissi d'arte." Tosca, the title character, is an operatic diva who is faced with a horrible moral dilemma that has been cruelly and unjustly forced upon h … [Read more...]

“Corridors of the Night”

Cover of latest Anne Perry

  I have a guilty little secret. And I feel especially embarrassed by it after hearing a very productive scholar, for whose output I have great respect, share the fact that he very seldom reads fiction. My guilty little secret is that I like murder mysteries. Very often, my wife and I will unwind late at night by watching a British mystery, or, lately, a Spanish or Australian one. And we read mysteries, … [Read more...]

“From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher”

"From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher"

  Kevin Taylor kindly brought this to my attention, and I thought that some of you might find it of interest: http://www.amazon.com/Baptist-Preacher-Mormon-Teacher/dp/1462117023/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid&sr   … [Read more...]

“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...]