Apologetics vs. Mormon Studies

Mormon studies versus apologetics. It seems the "bloggernacle" is currently filled with posts addressing this new development in the so-called "Book of Mormon Wars." It's silly and it's unfortunate. But still, for some reason, here we stand.Even though I recently expressed my belief that the paradigm (whether apologetics or academic) shouldn’t matter, that Latter-day Saints should simply follow Joseph Smith’s lead and pursue truth, “LET IT COME FROM WHERE IT MAY,” it is important to note … [Read more...]

How to Save LDS Youth in a Secular Age

Some time ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a large group in-service meeting for teachers working with LDS youth. The presentation focused upon the need teachers have in today’s world of information accessibility to help students answer difficult questions. The presenter gave a passionate lecture, drawing heavily upon 2 Peter 1:16. The text presents Peter, the Lord’s apostle, making the assertion,"We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the pow … [Read more...]

Biblical Archaeology Review


The most recent edition of Biblical Archaeology Review took note of the blog entry on the "Death of the Documentary Hypothesis."The introduction to the piece reads:"How, when and by whom were the Pentateuch and the historical books of the Bible written? Many theories have been offered to answer this question--one of the best known being that of the Documentary Hypothesis first proposed by the German scholar Julius Wellhausen in 1878. Not surprisingly, Wellhausen's theory has been … [Read more...]

KAR 4: An Example of Mesopotamian Creation Motifs in Genesis

Ancient Mesopotamian texts had a significant impact upon the material in the Bible. Some Mesopotamian sources, such as the Laws of Hammurabi and the Assyrian Vassal Treaties, had a direct impact upon the development of biblical material. Other Mesopotamian sources can be shown to share with the Bible similar phrases and motifs. One of these Mesopotamian connections includes a creation account featured in an Akkadian text known as KAR 4.KAR 4 represents one of several stories of human … [Read more...]

God, Gods, and Goddesses: Making Sense of the Elohim in Genesis

The Hebrew noun ’elohim can be a bit confusing. Technically, ’elohim is a masculine plural noun meaning “gods.” It’s used, however, as a reference to God singular in many biblical passages.A classic illustration of how puzzling this noun can be appears in the biblical story of Eden. Would eating the forbidden fruit make the first humans like God or gods? This question derives from the words spoken by the snake in the biblical account. In his discussion with the woman, the snake correct … [Read more...]

The Neo-Documentary Hypothesis


I don’t exaggerate when I state that Dr. Jeffrey Stackert has produced one of the most significant books in the field of biblical studies to emerge in recent years.   For anyone interested in the academic study of the Hebrew Bible, Stackert’s A Prophet Like Moses: Prophecy, Law, and Israelite Religion published by Oxford University Press is an absolute must read.  Stackert presents a provocative thesis on the relationship between prophecy and law in the Hebrew Bible that carries significant impli … [Read more...]

Reading the Bible Critically and Religiously: Interview with Dr. Marc Zvi Brettler

 Brigham Young University’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship continues to offer impressive contributions in the field of Religious Studies.  I highly recommend listening to their recent podcast interview with biblical scholar Marc Zvi Brettler.  Dr. Brettler is the Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University.  Blair Hodges, the Institute’s public communications specialist and acquisitions and development editor, conducts the interview. Hodges does … [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...]