A post prompted by another post

One of my fellow saints recently asked me what I think of the late Hugh Nibley's work. I began by saying that although I may have become disenchanted with his general approach, I continue to be impressed by how much he knew. Intimidated even. Next I mentioned some things I had picked up reading around in his biography, items that humanized him for me and made him someone I could still relate to, items such as his reluctance to take on the Book of Abraham academically and his breakdown/stroke and … [Read more...]


What does it mean to say that Joseph Smith or anyone else saw God, Jesus, angels, resurrected beings in visions? What can be claimed about deity from them? What kind of knowledge does the visionary possess and how is it acquired? Does it matter whether visions happen in the mind of the visionary while asleep, in a trance, unconscious? If not seen and heard with literal eyes and ears, must visions be discounted as non-factual, a-historical, un-true? … [Read more...]


Shamelessly jumping on the bandwagon ...The most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical translation is not by comparing different texts, but by comparison with the Book of Mormon and modern-day revelations.Would anyone care to guess what this means (whether new or not)?A. different texts = other modern translations of the Bible B. different texts = critical editions of the Bible in ancient languages C. different texts = non-specific, all inclusive of anything besides KJV D. … [Read more...]


The Book of Mormon contains an allegory or two, maybe more than the New Testament, and it presupposes a typological interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. But if my perception is accurate, as a whole we are not very willing to interpret the Book of Mormon other than literally. Which is curious, not because the boundaries between literal and non-literal interpretation are questionable, being tied up with appeals to (objective) history and authorial intent, but because the Book of Mormon itself … [Read more...]

Caught Red-Handed

Hoping to put a dent in my qualifying exam reading lists, and given the fact that I am a slow reader, I have resorted to focusing on introductions and conclusions, while skimming the rest. And what should I encounter but this incriminating passage:I have long been annoyed by introductions that are largely devoted to succinct summaries of arguments and ideas presented in the bulk of a book. They usually serve only the purposes of lazy readers who desire to be knowledgeable about books without … [Read more...]

Enoch, wild man and wizard … of sorts

So I have become intrigued by aspects of the figure of Enoch in the Book of Moses: the wild man and seer who is slow of speech by human standards yet utters a divine language that allows him to command nature.First I happened to notice some books on the literary stereotype of the wild man, such as Wild Men In the Looking Glass: The Mythic Origins of European Otherness by Roger Bartra. This set to me wondering whether there might be some connection with our wild man Enoch in the Pearl of Great … [Read more...]

De occultissimis

Something like reincarnation is not totally irrelevant to BHodges’ recent posts on Roberts vs. Smith. Enoch mentioned it in his nuancimony. T&S featured a short post on it the other month. And of course the crazies at New Cool Thang have been discussing multiple mortal probations for years.The most explicit sources on the topic that I am aware of are a couple of passages in Orson F. Whitney’s journal. In the first he relates a conversation between his mother (Helen Mar Kimball Smith Whi … [Read more...]

sunshine and puppy dogs

In case you are feeling overwhelmed with the beginning of the new semester and need a shot of encouragement, here you go.(NB I am not a new professor and so have no business reading this letter. But perhaps there are some who will care to comment.)Among the many happy thoughts offered, I'll single out this one:We all know the little secrets of "scholarship" too, such as using others' work rather than doing the work for ourselves, and taking credit for it; citing sources without having read … [Read more...]