Hauglid’s new critical text of the Book of Abraham manuscripts

Brian M. Hauglid's A Textual History of the Book of Abraham: Manuscripts and Editions is the latest volume in the Studies in the Book of Abraham Series from the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. A full review is available here, and my podcast interview with Hauglid is available here. In this post I briefly compare Hauglid's project to Royal Skousen's project on the Book of Mormon manuscripts.A few differences between his project and Hauglid's are immediately apparent. … [Read more...]

BYU’s honor code, implications of racism, and journalistic rhetorical structures

I don't really follow college sports, but I couldn't help but notice the attention BYU has been receiving in the national media this year. I kept hearing about this fellow named "Jimmer," who, evidently, is quite a fine basketball player. (He's looking to surpass Danny Ainge as BYU's top scorer of all time, for example.) BYU was surging ahead in the rankings, a system which I don't understand in the least, but is supposed to be a big deal. BYU ranked #3 in the nation, something like that.With … [Read more...]

(Past Due) – an uncorrelated hymn

I believe in uncorrelated hymns. This post is a personal reflection about one of my favorites.February is the Year's obituary in my life, which seems strange, given that my own birthday falls on the first of that month. Of course, I celebrate the death of the old year and birth of the new between December 31 and January 1 with the rest of the Gregorian collective. But every year it seems like I personally feel the real death in February. … [Read more...]

Edward Tullidge’s Miltonian “Gathering of the Grand Council of Hell”

In 1858 Edward Tullidge wrote to Brigham Young to volunteer himself as the epic chronicler of the Restoration. The off-and-on again British convert to Mormonism enthusiasticaly described his fifteen-thousand-line epic style biography of Joseph Smith, "The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century." He compared his work to Homer and John Milton and promised more to come.1 Evidently, Tullidge never completed the project.2 Fortunately, however, one chapter was published in The Latter-day Saints' Millennial … [Read more...]

The Dumbing Down of Mormon Books, Made Easy!

A recent book review of Eric Shuster and Charles Sale's The Biblical Roots of Mormonism describes the book as "a 258-page overview of about 350 Latter-day Saint beliefs referenced in the Old and New Testament." On the face of it, the book sounds like an extended exercise in proof-texting. I've talked about a few potential problems with such easy "likening" elsewhere but I haven't read this particular book myself, so I can't comment on its quality. Instead, I want to focus on the rhetorical … [Read more...]

Apply for the Annual Summer Seminar on Mormon Culture

The Mormon Scholars Foundation is currently accepting applications for the 2011 Summer Seminar on "the gold plates as a cultural artifact." Graduate students at any level of preparation from the fields of history, literature, anthropology, sociology, religious studies, philosophy and other humanistic and social scientific fields, as well as junior faculty, are invited to apply. Click here for more information, click here to download an application. Here's my take as a former seminar … [Read more...]

Thoughts on "Mormon Scholars Testify"

Mormon Scholars Testify is a website which seeks to give "LDS scholars the opportunity to express their views and feelings about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Daniel C. Peterson, who originally conceived of the site and collects testimonies for inclusion, described it as a "personal missionary enterprise" inspired by Elder Ballard's call for more members to use the Internet to spread the gospel.1 In this post I want to chat about the purposes of … [Read more...]

A couple discusses a possible alternative to the Santa tradition

K.Ullrich-Hodges is joining me for our post on Santa Claus. Chris H. talked about some of the reasons he embraces the Santa Claus tradition, so this post talks about why K and I anticipate trying something different for Christmas with our yet-to-be-born child(ren). There are a few reasons we may be parting with the typical Santa Claus tradition, but there are a few reservations to consider (particularly on the part of B more than K).K- For starters, there's the classic "Christmas is too … [Read more...]