An (Updated) Bible Dictionary?

Let me just say upfront that I don’t have a problem in theory with the idea of a Bible dictionary accompanying the LDS version of the scriptures as a study help for members. Reading the Bible in English (or any other modern language for that matter) for devotional purposes these days presents enormous interpretive challenges, as it represents a translation (in the LDS case, a largely 400 year old translation) of a heterogeneous anthology of ancient Israelite, Jewish, and Christian literature tha … [Read more...]

The 2013 Adjustments to the Book of Mormon: Accuracy Delayed

This post is written by guest contributor, Grant Hardy.It is a weighty responsibility to decide how God’s word should be presented to the world, and the Church takes this charge very, very seriously. The recent adjustments to the official standard works include many welcome corrections to the headings of the Doctrine and Covenants, but otherwise the revisions are quite minimal. As Elder Neil L. Andersen explained, “members should not feel that they need to purchase a new set of scriptures . . … [Read more...]

Approaching Antiquity: BYU Church History Symposium 2013

Joseph Smith

In case you haven't seen it, take a break from Wheat and Tares Apologizing and attend the BYU Church History Symposium on Joseph Smith's Study of the ancient world. Richard Bushman, Sam Brown, Matt Bowman, and many more! Looks to be, um, historic! … [Read more...]

Israel’s Past Without the Bible

It may come as a surprise to some that there are texts from ancient Israel, Judah, and its environs that are not found in the Bible. There are also a number of texts from (especially) ancient Egypt, Assyria, and Babylonia that make reference to Biblical persons, places, and events. Such epigraphic texts are important for many reasons. I want to discuss some aspects of why these texts are important in what follows, and to give some basic information with respect to some of the more prominent … [Read more...]

Peter, James, and … Lazarus?


I recently ran across a hypothesis promulgated anew by Ben Witherington III that attempts to deal with the main issues about the authorship and uniqueness of the fourth gospel.[1] There is much of interest in the problem and proposed solution. First, an overview of the problem and proposed solution, then, its implications for Latter-day Saints.The problem:Of crucial interest is the mention of a “beloved disciple” in this highly unique gospel. Since antiquity the author of this gospel, wh … [Read more...]

On the Malleability of Gold Plates: Mormonism and Modern Biblical Scholarship

book of enoch

From the time I first came to understand the nature of  pseudepigrapha, I felt comfortable with the idea that many of these extra-scriptural writings were written under assumed names. Somewhere I had picked up the idea that it was a common and accepted convention for works of antiquity to be attributed to someone famous. There are ancient books of Adam, of Enoch, of Abraham, all written by later authors under a prophetic moniker to give their writings authority and status. Even our book of P … [Read more...]

Faith as a Relationship

I recently heard somebody refer to faith as a verb. While many verbs are involved in faith, I would say that faith is itself not a verb, but it is a noun.Faith in Jesus Christ is not believing in Christ. Having faith in Christ is having a relationship with Him. A relationship is a noun. What then does this thing involve? That is a more complex issue.What does any relationship require? We could probably come up with a long list, but I will note a few that stand out to me.Trust. We must be … [Read more...]

Scripture Mastery Context(s) Series: Jeremiah 16:16 – Should Missionaries be Hunting & Fishing?

“Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks” (Jer 16:16 KJV) Seminary instructors, both full-time and volunteer, have urged countless students to commit this verse to memory in an effort to show that: “In the last days the Lord will send missionaries to gather Israel.” [1]  Even those who may have missed out on seminary … [Read more...]