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...]

Anxiety and the Fall

Some years back for a course I was taking in psychiatry we were assigned to regularly visit a local mental hospital. The first and second floors were "day programs" and the third floor was the locked unit, for those not safe enough to be let out. I will never forget the intensity of the cigarette smoke: I've since learned that many schizophrenics self-medicate with nicotine. Also unforgettable was the look in the eyes of the many people wandering the bare rooms of the third floor. But for this … [Read more...]

How Old Was Jesus?

Doesn't everyone know that Jesus was 30 when he started his ministry, and 33 when he was killed? This seems to be common knowledge, right? Well, sort of. But not everyone agrees.Let's begin with the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke). The only clear statement concerning Jesus's age comes from Luke 3:23, which says that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" when he began his ministry, following his baptism by John. This obviously lacks some precision. How old Jesus was when he died is … [Read more...]


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