The Christmas Post: Happy Winter Solstice

The holiday for late Roman deity Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun, was celebrated on December 25. I say late Roman deity because it was under the influence of eastern religions in the late second and third centuries CE that Sol Invictus (aka, Elah Gabal, its Syrian name) came to prominence. To be more specific, the Hellenized Persian deity Mithras was also born this day (and sometimes conflated with Sol Invictus in this later period). Along with a series of Egyptian cults, Mithras and Sol … [Read more...]

Some Notes on Reading Hebrew (and Greek)

I taught Old Testament in Institute last semester, but we only did Genesis. I'll try to post some thoughts on that at a later time. We're continuing with the OT, and adding something new and spicy; students who come 30 minutes early will also be learning some Biblical Hebrew. … [Read more...]

The New Spanish LDS Bible

Some of you may have heard that the LDS Church has undertaken a massive project of providing a Spanish edition of the Bible that is similar in scope to the English LDS Bible, including cross-references to Restoration scriptures, a Bible Dictionary, and explanatory footnotes. They have received copyright permission for one of the influential Spanish translations of the Bible and are using this as the basis for the new edition. I do not have all the details to the endeavor (I would love more … [Read more...]

Notes from hither and yon

AHLDuke summarizes the SBL conference on his blog. I hear it was a good time.Across town from SBL, JP Moreland at the Evangelical Theological Society meeting accuses Evangelicals of bibliolatry, in his address entitled “How Evangelicals Became Over-Committed to the Bible and What Can Be Done About It.” As this summary post puts it, "to accuse evangelicals of over-commitment to the Bible at ETS would be like accusing environmentalists of talking too much about climate change at a Sierra Club mee … [Read more...]

My Margaret Barker Experience

I first heard about Margaret Barker seven years ago and have watched from the sidelines as LDS scholars have fallen all over themselves after her ideas. However, I have never read her work. My avoidance of her work changed when a friend of mine sent me one of her lectures for comment (this is a great way to maintain a long-distance friendship, btw). It was worse than I imagined. I listened to the 35 minute lecture probably 10 times and just got more frustrated every time. I am slightly … [Read more...]

Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls, and Various Near Eastern Texts

Two quick notes:Non-LDS scholar Peter Flint gave a lecture on the Dead Sea Scrolls the other day at BYU. You can watch it or listen to the audio at Aquinas' blog. (Hat tip to, uh, Aquinas.)And Logos is doing it to me again. They've got two new databases, wheat amongst the chaff on the prepublication list, which means a reduced price is available before Logos finishes building the databases. (This link explains how the prepublication process works.)The first database is a … [Read more...]

Five Recommended books for Understanding the Old Testament

Five or so...First, a good Bible or two, meant for understanding and personal study. Given only one choice, I'd recommend the Jewish Study Bible. The JPS translation is dynamic (thought-for-thought),the commentary is useful, and the essays included in the back are excellent. If I were to add a second Bible, I'd recommend the NIV Study Bible. It's Evangelical and conservative, but I find it's OT notes useful, the translation quite readable. … [Read more...]

Offenders for a Word

The classic Daniel Peterson/Stephen Ricks historical defense of LDS doctrine, Offenders for a Word, has been put up on the FARMS website, along with a slew of other volumes. … [Read more...]