When Jehovah Was Not the God of the Old Testament. Part II

As the very name Israel might indicate on account of its theophoric element el (אל), it appears that the chief god worshiped in earliest Israel was El, the chief god of the Canaanite pantheon in the Late Bronze Age.  The god El has been revealed most clearly to the modern inquirer through the discovery of the Ugaritic texts at Tel Ras Shamra in 1929, a flourishing kingdom-city-state on the Syrian coast during the second half of the second millennium B.C.E.[1] As biblical tradition affirms as re … [Read more...]

Does the Old Testament Teach Absolute Monotheism? Part I

Introduction: Was Ancient Israel Monotheistic? Western Society is perhaps more indebted to the Hebrew Bible than to any other book, and arguably the most famous teaching associated with the Hebrew Bible is that of absolute monotheism.  This position famously affirms that there is only one god in existence and no other(s).  For example, Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Shema, has often been cited since antiquity as supporting this understanding of monotheism.[1] It declares, “Listen, O Israel, YHWH … [Read more...]

Discussion and Implications of the New Perspective(s) on Paul (NPP)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is God's power for salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first, as well as the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith(fullness) for faith(fullness), as it has been written, '(and) the Righteous One/righteous will live through faith(fullness).'  -Romans 1.16-17 [1] Few passages in the New Testament have elicited more debate throughout the centuries than Romans 1.16-17 and its explanatory corollary passages in Romans 3 … [Read more...]

Child Sacrifice, A Traditional Religious Practice in Ancient Israel?

Scholars continue to debate a number of important issues concerning the nature of human (child) sacrifices in the ancient Near East, including the origins of the rite, to whom these sacrifices were intended, and by whom they were performed.  A number of books dedicated to the topic have appeared in recent years,[1] and many scholarly books pertaining to the history of Israelite religions have included discussions of these issues as well.[2] Especially vexing as pertains to the biblical material … [Read more...]

OTFTW 2: Is the King James a Good Translation

Before discussing my 3 Bible suggestions from OTFTW 1, we need to discuss the KJV a bit. Below is a slightly fleshed-out Institute handout I've used in my Bible classes.  … [Read more...]

Who Lectures on the Book of Mormon?

I'm a big fan of The Teaching Company. They have lots of good stuff on the Bible, world religions, and a bunch of lesser topics as well, like arts, philosophy, etc. It's particularly interesting to hear Bart Ehrman and Luke T. Johnson lecture on Paul, since they have such contrasting approaches. … [Read more...]

Optimism and Naiveté for LDS Religion Scholars

I just finished Sheldon Greaves, "The Education of a Bible Scholar" in Dialogue 42:2, Greaves's spiritual autobiography recounting both his loss of place in the LDS church in the mid-nineties and his appreciation for modern critical biblical studies. It was a fascinating, if familiar, account of the disillusionment of a LDS scholar with the kinds of questions that could be asked of sacred texts, with a view of the frustration with the tendencies of many in BYU religion to discourage, avoid, and … [Read more...]

Women as the True Disciples and Apostles of Christ in the Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark, written c. 65-70 C.E., is the earliest of the four gospels (even being edited and reused as a source text for the Gospels of Luke and Matthew), and offers a unique perspective among the gospels on the meaning of discipleship and following Jesus. [1]  Mark places heavy emphasis on the suffering(s) and death of Jesus, and understands true Christian discipleship in terms of literally following Jesus' example through experiencing and enduring suffering and persecution for the … [Read more...]


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