The Exegesis of a Stop Sign

Suppose you're traveling to work and you see a stop sign. What do you do? That depends on how you exegete (interpret) the stop sign. … [Read more...]

Secular Sam’s Guide to the OT: The Lineage and Honors of Cain

No story in the OT is ever wasted, and the story of Cain and his descendants is no exception. Like the narratives preceding it, it continues to explain the “how” and the “why” of human existence – it has an etiological function. More importantly, however, it also furthers the theological motives of its author. … [Read more...]

Historical Jesus 5: The Baptism of Jesus

Parts 3 and 4 of this series on the Historical Jesus were a summary of John Meier’s ten criteria for establishing a sense of the historicity of an event. In this segment, we turn our attention to an example of Meier’s criteria in action: the case for the historicity of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. … [Read more...]

Historical Mormon Smackdown: Auxiliary Edition [Corrected; Please vote again]

It appears that although we are meant to pay closer attention to the teachings of the current prophet, this does not extend to his wife. No matter; we plow ahead.Historical Mormon Smackdown: Auxiliary Edition! [Corrected] Who has more influence on your church experience: Bonnie D. Parkin or A. Roger Merrill?Bonnie D. Parkin, General Relief Society PresidentA. Roger Merrill, General Sunday School PresidentVote Below and Discuss:This poll was corrected after Justin, whose research … [Read more...]

“A” is for Adam “in whose fall we sinnéd all”

My GD class was hinting around last week that there is a firm distinction between the terms “sin” and “transgression” when talking about Gen 3. Of course, Gen 3 makes no claim about the event, either way. And it seems to me that such terminological precision is not a feature of Paul’s original comparison of Christ and Adam in Rom 5:12-21. When Paul does make a distinction it is transgression, not sin, that is the stronger term. … [Read more...]

Secular Sam’s Guide to the OT: the Pseudepigrapha

The writings contained in what is known as the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (hereafter OTP) are legion. They date from about the middle of the 7th century BC to the 9th century AD and were written mostly by pre-Christian Jews, Christians, and other minor people groups. Some of the languages represented in the OTP are Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Slavonic, Coptic, Latin, and others.What is the OTP?The word "pseudepigrapha," as one may see, comes from the Greek compound word which means "falsely … [Read more...]

Historical Jesus 4: More Criteria

Since the majority of our information about Jesus comes from the Gospels, when we try to work out the details of the historical Jesus, we are obliged to sift and weigh these sources. In Part 3, we opened a discussion of John Meier’s ten criteria for this effort with the three strongest. Today, we continue with the remaining two strong criteria, then summarize the five weak ones. … [Read more...]

The Return of Historical Mormon Smackdown: Prophetic Spouse edition!

When last we checked, more people were disturbed by possible polyandry than polygyny on the part of the Prophet Joseph. This week, we continue my personal campaign to put things in perspective:Who is more influential in the church today: Emma Hale Smith or Marjorie Pay Hinckley?Emma Smith: wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, recipient of D&C 25, subject of two books and several pieces of variable quality artwork at Hinckley: wife of the current prophet, … [Read more...]