The Wind Always Blows in the Direction of the Promised Land

I love a good Jewish book. And I’m especially fond of Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen’s beautiful work, My Grandfather’s Blessings. Even though Dr. Remen is not-LDS, she shows an awareness and fondness for one of the Exodus stories in the Book of Mormon. And in her assessment, she offers a profound observation. This posts goes out to my brothers and sisters in pain over recent events. Let us not forget the objective—the Promised Land, and let us not be afraid… Read more

The Two Creations in Genesis

The Bible opens up with two distinct creation myths. Recently, I had an opportunity to write a brief essay on these accounts for Bible Odyssey, an online division of the Society of Biblical Literature. Bible Odyssey is a site that introduces issues addressed in contemporary scholarship to a general audience. It’s a very helpful resource, filled with fascinating essays. Read more

The Word of God: Both Scandalous and Divine

I feel lost. So where do I go from here? It’s not uncommon for religious believers who engage in critical studies to feel lost—to question whether they can continue to find spiritual value in texts that do not live up to their traditionally held beliefs. Trying to answer this question when a person’s worldview begins to change can be a painful process. The answer is highly personal; it will inevitably differ for each individual. But it is possible to discover… Read more

Marcus Borg on How to Save the Bible

What are we to make of the Bible? It is a historical product that lacks historicity. God, according to the text, is real and he has in the past interacted directly with humanity. But what does that mean if the past depicted in the Bible is not always historically correct? This topic is addressed by Christian theologian and New Testament scholar Marcus Borg in his classic work The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith. I find his approach… Read more

Mormon Miscellaneous with Van Hale

Earlier this evening, I had a chance to visit with radio talk show host Van Hale on his K-TALK AM 630 show Mormon Miscellaneous. It was a live, in-studio discussion, and I’m grateful to the thoughtful callers who participated in the program. Van Hale is such a thoughtful, kind man. This was a great opportunity to discuss my book Authoring the Old Testament with a long-time significant voice in Mormon studies. Those interested in the discussion can access a recorded… Read more

Teaching Biblical Studies and Judaism Through Utah State University

I’ve taken a position as the new online professor of Biblical Studies and Judaism for Utah State University’s Religious Studies program. Information about the program and my position can be accessed here. I’m really excited about this new project. USU is leading out in an effort to provide high quality distant learning opportunities for students interested in obtaining academic degrees. Currently USU offers 18 degrees and programs that can be obtained completely online, including a Minor in Religious Studies. The… Read more

You Lost Me: Secular vs. Sacred Education

Secularism! Be afraid! It is a demonic force overtaking religious institutions as it consumes and extinguishes the spirituality of youth. Recently, this frightening narrative has received considerable online attention. I confess to hold some interest in the discussion. I recently purchased a copy of the book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith. I’ve found it to be a fascinating study, well-worth considering. The book shares the findings of a massive research project conducted by… Read more

Who Wrote the Gospels? (part 3)

Continuing this series, I would like to draw upon a quote from the Harper Collins Study Bible produced for the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). SBL is the oldest and largest international scholarly membership organization in the field of biblical studies. Their study bible is an outstanding resource that I often recommend to students. It includes comprehensive explanatory notes from leading scholars in the field of biblical studies; it is often used as the primary textbook in college-level courses. In… Read more

Come You Masters of War: Joshua Madson Lecture

This Tuesday night (March 31st), author of the forthcoming book Buried Words: Recovering the Non-Violent Message of the Book of Mormon, Joshua Madson, will present a guest lecture in my “Book of Mormon as Literature” course. The topic will be “Violence and War in the Text.” Joshua will share a narrative approach to the Book of Mormon, illustrating that it rejects violence as a means to peace. The class meets at the University of Utah from 7:15-8:35 PM at the… Read more

Who Wrote the Gospels (part 2)

Back in 1992, the Biblical Archaeology Society published a collection of introductory essays in a book titled, Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism: A Parallel History of Their Origins and Development. The book contained essays by some of the most influential contributors to this fascinating field of study. Since then, it has become a standard textbook and reference work for undergraduate, graduate, and Bible study courses across the country. A newly revised version appeared in 2011. As an undergraduate student, I purchased… Read more

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