A Case for the Documentary Hypothesis, Part I: The Division of Exodus 34

HP's very recent post provides a good springboard for a discussion of the Documentary Hypothesis. Rather than introducing the hypothesis via a historical summary, which may be discussed in comments or a subsequent post, let me present a case study.In this multi-part post I propose to lay a source division of Exodus 34, the so-called "New Covenant". This chapter both exemplifies the issues and is relevant to an LDS audience, and thus is particularly fitting for this forum. I will outline the … [Read more...]

Except by Prayer…and Fasting!

There is a somewhat strange episode in the Gospel of Mark (okay, so all of Mark is strange) where a father brings his son who has a spirit that makes him unable to speak and causes him to fall on the ground foaming and grinding his teeth (this sounds like epilepsy, but it is misnamed as such since we are dealing with an entirely different disease etiology in the text). The problem is that Jesus's disciples are unable to cast out the spirit and so Jesus does it himself. Leaving aside the issue … [Read more...]

Strange Bedfellows: Fundamentalism and Historical Criticism

Fundamentalist Christianity grew up around the turn of the 20th century, primarily as a reaction to liberal Christianity, critical biblical studies, and scientific challenges to religion. Though it is often characterized as an opposite to these three cultural trends, numerous studies have show how fundamentalism is actually very much rooted to Enlightenment rationality. This same paradigm is also operative in critical biblical studies. A brief comparison shows how both fundamentalism and … [Read more...]

Ugaritic! Huh! What is it good for?! Absolutely everything…

The texts from the city of Ugarit and the language they were written in (Ugaritic) are far more important for understanding the Old Testament than the Dead Sea Scrolls, but the DSS hog all the press. Logos is about to publish an electronic Ugaritic library. Instead of writing a lengthy post of my own, let me link to one of Logos' academic staff, Mike Heiser, who explains why Ugaritic is so important. (See also this demo video for usage examples)Incidentally, Mike is an Evangelical who wrote … [Read more...]

The Talpiyot Tomb of Jesus: A Sober Assessment

Here's a link to an article on the Talpiyot tomb written by Jodi Magness of UNC-Chapel Hill and located on the Society of Biblical Literature website.  As you can guess from the title, her contribution is a sober assessment of the serious deficiencies of the Cameron production and its associated sensationalism.While you're there, feel free to poke around the SBL site...  … [Read more...]

A tentative list of general LDS biases in approaches to the Bible

Scholars have a tendency to operate on shorthand and stereotype whenever they feel like they can get away with it. It is a somewhat ironic tendency, in that they general also insist on a more detailed and topic-specific discussion if it is something that they care about.  Of such are life's paradoxes, no?  (That one's for you, Frank) … [Read more...]

The Incoherence of the Flood

It's been too long since I posted anything controversial so I guess I better start living up to my villain namesake. Actually, this discussion has probably already been done to death on the 'nacle so feel free to ignore this post. It's just that it's one of my favorite heresies and never fails to stir up some conversation.I'm a moderate Mormon, which means that I meet a lot of fellow LDS that think that I'm a flaming liberal because I'm not exceptionally conservative like they are. Trust me, … [Read more...]

Mormon Hermeneutics: A Modest Proposal

I have recently argued that Mormon biblical studies needs to be more critical of its hermeneutical stance rather than emphasize exegetical proof-texting if it is to be successful in the wider academy. I think that success is measured by overall interest by outsiders and the amount of interest it generates in me :). I have also suggested a set of models (feminist and AfAm) that have gained a great deal of respect from many scholars, which blend the skills developed by modern historical-critical … [Read more...]