The New Testament: Why Don’t We Teach This?

Over the years, I have really enjoyed the writings of prolific New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman. Whether in print or through "Audible," I have made my way through all of his "popular" books (and several of his contributions to the "Great Courses" series). Recently, I've thought a lot about a question Dr. Ehrman raises at the end of chapter 4 in his book Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them). I'm going to share it here on my … [Read more...]

Authoring the Old Testament: A Great Review

Tom Hardman, who posts at In Fide Scientiam: To Our Faith Add Knowledge, has posted a nice review of my book Authoring the Old Testament: Genesis-Deuteronomy, which provides an introduction to documentary analysis in the Pentateuch and the relationship of historical criticism to Mormon scripture. … [Read more...]

An Example of Critical Thinking and Religious Faith


Thought I would share the following picture of my friend, Tyler. Tyler (far left) decided to serve an LDS mission a bit later in life. For Tyler, this was not an easy decision. A very critical thinker, Tyler has studied the works of scholars such as Richard Bushman, Dan Vogel, Brent Metcalfe, and Earl Wunderli to better understand his religious tradition from a variety of angles. Tyler was also an avid listener to John Dehlin's Mormon Stories podcasts. Tyler sent me this picture recently that I … [Read more...]

Kitchen: Too Blatantly Apologetic to Warrant Serious Consideration as Historiography

I thought I would share a helpful follow-up citation to the last critique I posted concerning Kitchen's apologetic approach to biblical historicity. This assessment comes from John J. Collins, the Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism & Interpretation at Yale Divinity School. Though Kitchen's work is popular amongst some fundamentalists, Collin's criticism of Kitchen is very direct. Concerning Kitchen's On the Reliability of the Old Testament, Collins writes:“This is a richly d … [Read more...]

The Earth Really Isn’t Flat: An Evangelical Critique of K.A. Kitchen

Last month, I wrote a three-part series titled "Don't Do Bible (but if you do, do it right!). The posts can be accessed here, here, and here. The essays present some of the reasons--and many more could be added--why I find K.A. Kitchen's work on the Hebrew Bible highly problematic. Recently, my friend Benjamin Spackman has drawn my attention to the following assessment of Kitchen by Kenton L. Sparks. This is a significant indictment of Kitchen's work from a biblical scholar who shares his … [Read more...]

Historical versus Historicity

There's been some question as of late on the use of terms such as "historical" and "historicity" in some of my recent blog posts. I'm going to try and provide some clarity. "Historicity" means the act of producing a work that attempts to depict an accurate representation of the real past. "Historical" is closely related, and yet distinct. It refers to something or even someone from the past.So in other words, Jesus was a "historical" person, but the NT lacks "historicity." Therefore, we … [Read more...]

What it Means to be Mormon According to Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith embraced a dynamic religious view: freedom to believe; freedom to question; freedom to pursue intellectual truth:“One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth let it come from where it may.” Joseph Smith in Words of Joseph Smith pp. 229.“The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we have the right to embrace all, and every item of the truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds and sup … [Read more...]

Exilic Absorption of the Female Goddess in Deutero-Isaiah

Despite his original divine masculinity, the anthropomorphic Yahweh was eventually emasculated in later biblical and post-biblical conceptions. This desexualization of Yahweh was an inevitable result of the evolution of radical monotheism. The expression “radical monotheism” was popularized by Tikva Frymer-Kensky in her classic work, In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth (New York: Free Press, 1992). It refers to the belief that there is on … [Read more...]