The Shift Toward Modernity

Today's important news is that I ate my first ripe tomato of the 2008 season last night. Now we can get back to the Catholics. When last we left off in this little exercise, Pius X had dealt rather, er...firmly..., with Modernism. In addition to excommunicating many of the Modernists, he condemned much of their thought. He also required the clergy to take an anti-Modernist oath. These folks seem to have complied, but not so enthusiastically, and once Pius X passed away things began to … [Read more...]

The End of Modernism?

When last we met to discuss the world of Catholic Biblical scholarship, Pius X had just excommunicated Alfred Loisy in an effort to suppress Modernism...What else did Pius X do about Modernism? In addition to excommunicating Loisy, et. al., he called the Catholic faithful to reject Modernism root and branch. The first encyclical published was Lamentabili sane exitu, dated July 3, 1907. It listed 65 propositions, taken mostly from Loisy’s work but also including ideas from Tyrrell and a few … [Read more...]

A Modicum of Modernism

This post arises from one of the issues raised in Nitsav’s Apologia. (Since it’s now, like, 130 comments long, I am sure we’ll never need any other identifier for that post.) At some point in the middle of all those comments, we got on to a discussion of how others handle the problematic issues raised by close study of the Bible, and from there to the modern Catholic approach to scripture. Since I come out of the Catholic intellectual tradition with respect to scripture, I decided I’d venture … [Read more...]

Eve Deceived

There has been a fair amount of discussion on the question of whether Eve was deceived or not, as Paul says in 1 Tim 2:14. Books have been written, vociferous posts have gone back and forth, and apostles have been quoted. I've heard well-meaning Mormons dismiss the 1 Tim 2:14 verse as the only verse that supported the idea that Eve was misled, suggesting that in this case Paul was mistaken. Instead, the perspective is put forward that we should interpret Eve's actions as courageous and done with … [Read more...]

Uzzah Killed For Blind Obedience

Let me start out by saying I’m a big, big fan of obedience. And I also see many instances where the scriptures teach we should not criticize our leaders. I’ve got no problem with that – IMHO our leaders deserve all the support we can give them. However, I think that we have been badly misinterpreting a story that is commonly used to support these concepts. The traditional Mormon interpretation of the story of Uzzah and the ark in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chr 13 is familiar to most of us: Uzzah reaches ou … [Read more...]

What you have to explain without the Documentary Hypothesis

Last year I tried to give sure-fire evidence from a single chapter in Exodus supporting the claim that the first 5 books of the Hebrew Bible were arranged from multiple sources. One negative response to my three-part post came from Julie M. Smith over at Times and Seasons.* She said, essentially, that if this was the extent of the evidence for the Documentary Hypothesis, she’d lost her faith in what she’d been taught during her Master’s Degree in New Testament studies. In the discussion of her po … [Read more...]

The Record of John

Doctrine and Covenants 93:6-18 promises that if we are faithful, we shall receive the "fulness of the record of John." The context of this promise is somewhat strange. Jesus Christ is the first person narrator, who begins to quote John's testimony of Jesus. So, we have Jesus speaking in the first person quoting John speaking in the first person bearing testimony of Jesus in the third person. Okay, so that is kind of weird. But that is not all that is weird about this passage. It is not at … [Read more...]

BYU Religion Dean on Premortal Life, Part II: Scripture “Mastery”

This is part II of a post begun a week and a half ago in response to a devotional lecture given by Terry Ball, dean of the BYU college of religious education. That discussion centered on what I argued to be the problematic connection Ball makes between the pre-existence, Isaiah 28, and mortality. This post focuses on the scriptural aspects of his argument. … [Read more...]


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