Historical events as the basis of religious belief

I thought this was a nice quote relevant to the perils of choosing history as the site for the disclosure of divine purpose and will:"Von Rad also made the point, perhaps better than Noth, that the method of Albright and his students, which led to what was known as the ‘biblical theology movement’ (articulated especially by G. Ernest Wright, 1960; see von Rad 1961 for a rejoinder) prioritized the historical events as the basis of religious belief, valuing the biblical story as a testimony to … [Read more...]

YHWH and his asherah

For those interested, I have posted an updated version of an article on the meaning of asherah in the inscriptions from Kuntillet 'Ajrud and Khirbet el-Qom on my personal website.Abstract:The meaning of asherah in the inscriptions from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud and Khirbet el-Qom has been a focus of persistent discussion and debate, and still today the divergence in scholarly views is wide-ranging. The present paper aims to critically assess previous scholarship by examining each of the major pro … [Read more...]

The Invention of God

For those interested, I've posted a review of Thomas Römer's The Invention of God (2015) on my personal blog. The book summarizes recent archaeological findings and biblical scholarship on how Israelite polytheism developed into Jewish monotheism: https://ryansthomas.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/review-of-thomas-romer-the-invention-of-god-2015/ … [Read more...]

Review of Brant A. Gardner, Traditions of the Fathers: The Book of Mormon as History

 I finally found time over the holidays to read Brant Gardner’s Traditions of the Fathers: The Book of Mormon as History, which he describes as an attempt to read the BoM “in history and as history” (p. 52). Publicized as the state of the art in BoM apologetics, I was curious to see what Gardner had to say about BoM historicity. As a part-time student of the historicity debates myself, I have written a number of articles here at FPR that explore the narrative as a 19th century product of … [Read more...]

Nahom and Lehi’s Journey through Arabia: A Historical Perspective, Part 3

 Our investigations so far in Part  1 and Part 2 have concluded that the reference to Nahom in 1 Nephi 16:34 does not provide compelling evidence for the antiquity of the BoM and a number of aspects relating to the presentation of the name point to its inauthentic and artificial character. So how do we explain the accuracy with which the BoM places Nahom near the tribal area of Nihm in Yemen, showing knowledge of its general location in southwest Arabia and that it was a pre-existing … [Read more...]

Nahom and Lehi’s Journey through Arabia: A Historical Perspective, Part 2

 In part 1 we discussed how the journey of Lehi through Arabia described in 1 Nephi 1-18 is highly implausible as a depiction of historical events, because of the unrealistic nature of various details and the narrative’s modeling after the biblical Exodus. Which raises the question of the significance of the reference to Nahom in 1 Nephi 16:34. As we saw earlier, the mention of Nahom is widely regarded as the clearest instance where the BoM preserves a real world place name in the c … [Read more...]

Nahom and Lehi’s Journey through Arabia: A Historical Perspective, Part 1

 The issue of Nahom as evidence of the BoM’s antiquity has recently been a topic of heightened discussion and debate online, inspired by Philip Jenkin’s blog post Nahom Follies, which argues that the presence of the place name Nahom in the story about Lehi’s journey through Arabia is of doubtful historical significance and cannot be used to validate assumptions about the BoM’s historicity. His strong dismissal has not surprisingly engendered various counter responses from LDS apologi … [Read more...]

New Article at Dialogue

For those who do not have a subscription to Dialogue or have not yet heard, I wanted to point out an important new article in the Summer 2015 issue called "The Struggle for Female Authority in Biblical and Mormon Theology," by Cory Crawford. The article represents a detailed investigation of the major scriptural sources that bear on the question of female authority in the Church and pays particular attention to how such traditions have been interpreted and shaped over time, tracing larger h … [Read more...]


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