The Divine Council

There has been serious discussion among Mormon scholars over the past several years regarding the divine council in the Hebrew Bible and its implications for Mormon thought. For instance, very recently Blake Ostler published his third volume of Exploring Mormon Thought, in which, among other issues, he discusses at length various aspects of the heavenly council in the Hebrew Bible and what their implications might be for Mormon theology. David Bokovoy, a Mormon PhD student studying at Brandeis … [Read more...]

Reading the Christmas Stories: What is biblical criticism? Part 3

Hopefully you have all done what I suggested last time and made notes on both of the nativity stories. Below are my notes (sorry for the bad formatting, Wordpress for some reason does not allow arbitrary css styles on html elements, so I just gave up and let wordpress format it as it saw fit). … [Read more...]

Genesis 1-3 and The Documentary Hypothesis (again)

As scholars have noted for some time, and as I shall argue here, there are quite clearly two creation stories that presently exist side by side in Genesis chapters one through three, and which derive from two different sources which have been edited or redacted together.[1] The first source is the account of creation found in Genesis 1.1-2.4a (or, as some scholars might argue, Genesis 1.1-2.3), and is typically known as “P” (which stands for “Priestly,” as it is believed to have been written and … [Read more...]

Righteous Dissent?

Paul's bitter dispute with Peter and James poses a problem for thinking about LDS notions of authority because it puts into tension church authority and moral and doctrinal issues. When true doctrine and church leadership are in conflict, how are we to make a choice between them? When our sense of what is moral conflicts with our leaders' sense of what is moral, what are we supposed to do? Paul found himself in exactly this situation, and had to make a choice between his own sense of what was … [Read more...]

Back to Allegory?

When we moderns read any scripture we tend to read it only one way. We read it as history that is supposed to have some sort of theologically edifying meaning to us. This style of reading fits so well with our modes of thinking that it just seems the blatantly obvious way to read scripture. What could be more obvious than reading a book about the past, which we assert is true, as history? … [Read more...]

Amateur Biblical Studies, Part 2

Here's the other five resources which I recommend for an amateur in biblical studies just getting started. … [Read more...]

Amateur Biblical Studies, Part 1

I am not a biblical scholar, and I have never taken a class in anything related to biblical studies. So, what I am about to say may be worth every penny you are paying. Having said that, I think that it is possible for a motivated amateur to get a basic education in biblical studies on the cheap and in his/her spare time. I wanted to list 10 resource which I have found to be the most helpful and the most effective for getting educated in the world of academic biblical studies. I'll list the … [Read more...]

The Church and the Conversion Experience

Some time ago someone made a comment on one of our threads characterizing the LDS notion of revelation as a “hot sensation brought on by emotionally charged media.” In regard to the role of revelation in the conversion experience, the writer also felt “challenged” by the need to explain the revelatory experience to an investigator because he or she had “expected divine communication to be more clear.”I share the writer’s distaste for the maudlin and sentimental in media, from which I protect m … [Read more...]


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