Ten Tidbits: John

Prior post on gospels, with link to series intro.1. Of the four canonical gospels, John was probably written last, in stages, over the end of the first century and beginning decades of the second century. By that time, Jesus still had not returned, as it was expected that he would soon (1 John 2:18, 28), and the Beloved Disciple appears to have died when chapter 21 was written/added in the final stage (John 21:23; compare D&C 7).2. Scholars associated with the German school of the … [Read more...]

Three Cheers for Old Joe and his Indian Bible

Because I can’t wait for August (I’m already on episode 11 of The Mysterious Cities of Gold, folks!) …The other month in a Huffington blog post mentioning Larry Echo Hawk, Tim Giago asks some tough questions: Is the Mormon Church stuck with an embarrassing book it cannot historically support? Will the Book of Mormon one day be rationalized as simply an allegory conceived and used by Joseph Smith, the founder, to inspire his followers? In the final analysis it all comes down to whether faith … [Read more...]

Announcing unofficial ([post] post) colonial Americas month

In preparation for the release of the new season of The Mysterious Cities of Gold, rumored to be out in September (in French only?), here's what I propose for August:Watch all 39 episodes of the original Mysterious Cities of Gold ... at least as many as possible. Read pertainent mini-volumes in the Oxford Very Short Introduction series, such as The Aztecs (2012; there is not one on Incas yet), The Conquistadors (2012), and The North American Indians (2010). Reread the Book of Mormon in … [Read more...]

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...]