Insights from Names of Deity

Rabbinic commentators have sought to better understand the nature of God by exploring the implications and origins of his name. Michael Fishbane writes in Rabbinic Myth and Mythmaking (Oxford University Press, 2003): In the context of an explanation of why the 'dry land' (yabashah) is called 'eretz ('earth') in Gen 1:10, we are told that the primordial earth was an obedient creation of God's, and ceased to extend when He 'said' so. This compliance is strikingly forumated by an exegetical play on … [Read more...]

Wait, that’s in the Bible?! Celestial Sex

Background/The Divine Council … [Read more...]

The Bridal Chamber

The Gospel of Philip from the Nag Hammadi corpus contains some important passages about a kind of celestial marriage in the "bridal chamber." It is not uncommon for Latter-day Saints to appeal to this text as evidence for a kind of parallel to Mormon notions of eternal marriage found in ancient Christianity. I hope to show that such a reading of this text is mistaken, and that appeals to the Gospel of Philip to butress Mormon apologetic aims are an example of the problem that much apologetic … [Read more...]

Vision of Gabriel Update

The "Vision of Gabriel," (aka Hazon Gabriel) a newly discovered Hebrew text written in ink on stone out of the antiquities market, made a big splash in the media over the last few weeks, and received some amount of coverage in the bloggernacle as well. Paleojudaica has been keeping track of all the coverage. First discussed in 2007 among a small group of scholars, the text has recently hit the media in a big way. The announcement of this text seems to have caught many off-guard, so I have … [Read more...]

Nephi as the first autobiographer?

One of the most interesting things about the small plates of Nephi is the first person narrative which recounts his own life. The text begins famously "I Nephi," and gives a personal account of Nephi's family history, personal reflections, and all this is done in the first person. This is extremely rare in ancient and classical literature. What are we to make of this? … [Read more...]

Enoch Pt.2: The Ancient Evidence

In the first post I briefly introduced the idea that there exists a textual tradition of Enoch which lies outside of the Bible, a tradition that 1st century Christians had and accepted to one degree or another as true. I posed the question as to how these two traditions might relate and whether there existed the possibility that in this tradition we might be able to detect a restoration of lost ancient text by Joseph Smith in his JST account of Enoch in the Book of Moses. In this post we'll look … [Read more...]

Enoch: A Case for Ancient Text Restored Pt.1

One of the most unique characters revealed to us in the latter days through new revealed scripture is Enoch the Prophet. His vision of the heavens and earth is rivaled only by John's, Nephi's, Ezekiel's, and the like. His power in teaching is described in unequaled terms, his overwhelming charisma brings about the most successful Zion community known to us in the history of the world, and he is witness to events not given to any other prophet that we know of (he sees God actually weep). Yet, he … [Read more...]

Trends in Gospel of Judas Studies

I know that it seems weird to identify "trends" on a document that has been out less than a year, so this post may seem a bit premature. At the same time, the fact is that two major schools have already developed regarding the Gospel of Judas. The first, following the initial release of the text, argued that Judas was the chosen disciple over all the others. The obvious shock-value of this revelation has propelled the popularity and interest in the text. The second, newer interpretation … [Read more...]