Concerning Historicity

 I’m fascinated by studies of the historical Jesus. It’s a topic that I’ve devoted considerable attention towards since I was first exposed to this field of inquiry in a class I took from New Testament scholar Ed Sanders. I enjoy reading both scholarly and popular studies on Jesus, and (despite my own objections to many of his claims), I found the recent book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan a fascinating read.My own view is that rather than a Jewish “zea … [Read more...]

Scripture, Translation, and Belief: the LDS Book of Abraham

I had the opportunity to sit down with Doug Fabrizo in a live in-studio discussion on the LDS Book of Abraham.  Those interested can access the broadcast through this link.  … [Read more...]

Were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Real? What Can Scholars Know?

The Book of Genesis tells the story of ancient heroes from Israel’s past.  It describes the adventures of men and women who struggled to define their relationship to divinity, as well as their place within an often hostile world.  But were the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob real historical figures? From the perspective of historians, that is a question we simply cannot answer.  Unlike other biblical stories, the patriarchal narratives contain almost no connection with known historical even … [Read more...]

Deutero-Isaiah in the Book of Mormon: A Literary Analysis (pt. 2)

In the previous post exploring the literary use of Deutero-Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, we witnessed that Lehi, the initial prophetic figure in the work, made use of imagery that appears in Isaiah 52:1-2 to inspire his sons to rise up and be leaders.  This Isaianic text became a pivotal religious creed for the Nephite nation.  Nephi instructed his brother Jacob to deliver the inaugural Nephite sermon on this same Deutero-Isaiah passage.  As a result of these two sermons, Isaiah 52:1-2 seems to h … [Read more...]

Deutero-Isaiah in the Book of Mormon: A Literary Analysis (pt. 1)

Isaiah didn’t write the book of Isaiah.  The Bible connects the book with a prophetic figure Isaiah-ben Amoz who lived during the latter half of the eighth century BCE.  However, for many years, scholars have recognized that the Book of Isaiah is an amalgamation of diverse literary sources combined and subsequently attributed to this 8th century Judean prophet.  The historical Isaiah lived during the time of the Assyrian invasions of Israel and Judea, but much of the book was composed at a much l … [Read more...]

New “Genesis Team” Podcast: Abraham, Lot, and the Cities of Sodom & Gomorrah

In this episode, the Mormon Matters “Genesis Team”–David Bokovoy, Tom Roberts, andBrian Hauglid–join host Dan Wotherspoon for a discussion of Genesis 18 and 19, which chapters feature stories of both Abraham and Lot hosting divine messengers who are intent on destroying the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and their negotiating for the safety of as many people as God will allow. (Hint: Not many escape destruction!) The material covered in these chapters also contains the announcement to Abrah … [Read more...]

Yahweh Elohim in Genesis 2-3: A Response to Opponents of Documentary Analysis

I’m grateful that my book Authoring the Old Testament has sparked some interesting discussions.   As I shared in the book’s introduction, my goal was never to convince readers that the way I currently understand Pentateuchal sources represents THE correct view.  I myself anticipate shifting my current perspectives with further study.  Therefore, I sincerely appreciate the efforts that have been made to raise questions regarding the perspectives I articulate and the legitimacy of documentary analy … [Read more...]

Affliction and Favor: The Book of Mormon as Literature


 For 2013-14, I had the opportunity to serve as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Mormon Studies with the Tanner Humanities Center.  This Tuesday (April 15th), it will be my privilege to present a lecture entitled "Affliction and Favor: the Book of Mormon as Literature."  The lecture is part of the Tanner Center's "Work in Progress" series. The lecture begins at 12:00 noon in room 143 of the Carolyn Irish Tanner Humanities Building.  All are welcome to attend.  A link to the lect … [Read more...]