Would Jesus “Stick to the Manual”?

Recently I was asked to fill in as Gospel Doctrine teacher. I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity/challenge of helping people gain another lens through which to view the scriptures (ancient and/or modern) since everytime I see people have that moment of enlightenment when they gain new insight into the scriptures, gospel, etc. (something that I would argue is an observable phenomenon), I feel that I get to re-live the moments of enlightenment in my own life. This process of learning, teaching, … [Read more...]

Ten Tidbits about the Sermon on the Mount

1. The Sermon on the Mount only appears in Matthew's gospel. In Luke, the sermon is given not on a mountain, but a "level place" (6:17), and is frequently referred to as the Sermon on the Plain. These two sermons share some material, but diverge greatly. Attempts at harmonization argue that Matthew and Luke record two different sermons, but most believe that the authors are working from shared sayings that have been put together in different ways. Most of what is in Matthew's Sermon is found … [Read more...]

Edward Tullidge’s Miltonian “Gathering of the Grand Council of Hell”

In 1858 Edward Tullidge wrote to Brigham Young to volunteer himself as the epic chronicler of the Restoration. The off-and-on again British convert to Mormonism enthusiasticaly described his fifteen-thousand-line epic style biography of Joseph Smith, "The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century." He compared his work to Homer and John Milton and promised more to come.1 Evidently, Tullidge never completed the project.2 Fortunately, however, one chapter was published in The Latter-day Saints' Millennial … [Read more...]

Guarding the Temple: Our Procession to a Better Understanding; a Response to David L.

David L., who recently joined M*, and I have been having a really wonderful conversation about methodologies of interpretation and comparison. My response got too long, and so I thought it would be better to put up as a full post of its own. At issue, I believe, is how LDS should understand themselves and their relationship to the ancient world, David and I representing two different approaches that are currently wrestling for primacy in LDS scholarship more generally. Let me summarize the … [Read more...]

Spiritual Gifts: The Cessationist Controversy from an LDS Perspective

Debate over spiritual gifts is about as old as the first New Testament passage describing them. Paul's discourse and description of the gifts in 1 Corinthians is a response to the first-century Church's turmoil over the nature and practice of these gifts. The Montanist heresy is evidence of continued confusion in the second and third century.  From references found in Eusebius and others we learn that one of the greatest arguments between Montanists and the Church in Asia Minor was whether or … [Read more...]

Ten Tidbits About Prophets and Prophecy in the Old Testament

1. The biblical, or so-called "canonical," prophets--those whom we tend to consider the prophets--in many instances (e.g., Amos, Isaiah, Micah, and Hosea) are not called prophets (Hebrew nabi') in the superscriptions to their books, or elsewhere, and indeed probably would have rejected this label for themselves. For instance, in a third person biographical narrative about Amos, he rejects the Bethel priest Amaziah's suggestion that he is a nabi' (See Amos 7:10-17; cf. Hosea 9:7; Micah 3). This … [Read more...]

Ten Tidbits about the Gospels

Four years ago we launched a "Ten Tidbits" Series that sought to introduce some basic information about scriptural texts assumed by scholars, but not necessarily well known by Latter-day Saints. The goal was to introduce these points as the results of close readings that could lead to a more accurate understanding of the scriptural texts for LDS readers. I'd like to continue that series with a more focused look not at entire books of scripture, but smaller portions. Some of these points may … [Read more...]

John the Baptist: Typology and Fulfillment

I  recently read an essay by James M. Hamilton which has refined my perception of typology in the Old Testament and which I would like to discuss in regards to John the Baptist and the gospel of Matthew. As we know, Matthew presents a series of at least 16 Old Testament prophecies which he declares are fulfilled in the events surrounding the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus of Nazareth. A representative few of these prophecies are as follows: … [Read more...]


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