Peter, James, and … Lazarus?


I recently ran across a hypothesis promulgated anew by Ben Witherington III that attempts to deal with the main issues about the authorship and uniqueness of the fourth gospel.[1] There is much of interest in the problem and proposed solution. First, an overview of the problem and proposed solution, then, its implications for Latter-day Saints.The problem:Of crucial interest is the mention of a “beloved disciple” in this highly unique gospel. Since antiquity the author of this gospel, wh … [Read more...]

How Like a Chevrolet a Bird Is! A recipe for Temple soup.

This recipe is so easy, anyone can follow it! No need to memorize nor even to write down the instructions! Certainly don’t attend a cooking school to learn how to prepare this—it will only confirm you in the error of your ways! And don’t bother worrying about quantities of ingredients—nay, even which ingredients to use! Such things as detail, careful measurement, and attention to processes, methods, and techniques are unimportant! So long as your final product is heartfelt, it will be as warming … [Read more...]

A Hospital for Those Infected with Ph.D.

Most of my advisors tell me something to the effect that they don't know any PhD grad who doesn't get 5 years out and hate their dissertation, think the opposite of what they wrote, etc. In BYU Religious Education, this takes an interesting form. While it is true that there is a major concern on the part of those who are thinking about a job in RelEd over whether they will lose all touch with their field, research agenda, etc., there is also an explicit attitude expressed by members of the … [Read more...]

Of Analogies, Rorschach Tests, and Elder Oaks

It might seem a little mundane to say that a single analogy can be used in contrasting ways to serve the interests of discursive power grabs, but the constant resurfacing of Elder Oaks' BYUI talk makes me jump, Johnny-Come-Lately, into the fray. The implicit claim in the many vociferous critiques of Elder Oaks' talk that the Left has a monopoly on Civil Rights analogies strikes me as deeply ironic. As I recall, last year several public media outlets hosted guests that questioned the link … [Read more...]

Why Margaret Barker is Right

It is no secret that in the past I have not pulled many punches when it comes to the assessment of Margaret Barker and her attempts to reconstruct lost Old Testament beliefs (that dovetail nicely with particular LDS concepts) from much later texts. Equally culpable, in my view, were (mostly untrained) LDS thinkers who jumped on the Barker bandwagon, culminating in a university-wide forum at BYU and other talks to faculty and students in 2003. I wondered on other blogs whether her lack of a PhD … [Read more...]

Church Stance on Birth Control, Public and “Private”

Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators (DMBA), the Church's insurance company, does not cover prescriptive contraception, for any reason that relates to ("voluntary") contraception. That is, any Church employee or covered spouse (including BYU employees) that wants contraception requiring a prescription must pay for it entirely out of pocket. The only exceptions for this relate to the physical (not mental) health of the woman: endometriosis, ovarian cysts, etc. Postpartum depression is not a … [Read more...]

Who sold Joseph?

A friend suggested that when confronting the problems of the Pentateuchal narrative, it's best to begin with an innocuous passage--that is, one that has low theological stakes. Part of the problem with the average person's acceptance of the theory is that usually one starts with creation, or flood, or even, as I did earlier, covenant in Exod 34. So let's take one such case, one that is both theologically bland and relatively straightforward in terms of narrative. At the end of Genesis 37, Joseph … [Read more...]

Process-ease and other Linguistic Pet Peeves

I'm not a prescriptivist when it comes to language. That is, when a foreign-speaking missionary comes home from a mission correcting everyone's grammar, people are correct (imo) to be turned off by it (this usually assumes, as prescriptivists have throughout time, that English should work like Latin, Greek, or some other language). This "correct" English itself would have been considered a bastardization not too terribly long ago. Split infinitives don't bother me (though I try to really not use … [Read more...]