The Anthon Transcript: Fulfillment of Prophecy, Reformed Egyptian, and the Evolution of a Story, Part I

Like other Mormons, I grew up learning about Martin Harris’s famous visit with Professor Charles Anthon as a pivotal moment in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. According to the traditional narrative (which is really a conflation of several distinct narratives, including Joseph Smith’s 1838 history read in the context of 2 Nephi chapter 27), Harris went to visit several scholars in the cities of the East for the purpose of authenticating Joseph Smith’s transcription and translation of… Read more

The Part I Left Out…

I was blogging a bit over with Benjamin the Scribe, but didn’t get all of this first lesson quite done. So, I thought I’d just finish it up here, by reading the selection from the Johannine tradition. It consists of two of the three sections of the Fourth Gospel’s prologue: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into… Read more

How to Start a Culture War

Hold strong opinions about a few issues. The more people that care about the issues, the better. These opinions need not be informed opinions; conviction is the key. (Note, one issue is usually insufficient to start a culture war, but don’t choose too many because then you’ll dilute the message and make it difficult to recruit soldiers.) Use the frame of war to interpret all disagreements over these issues. This includes using some, but preferably all, of the following language:… Read more

The Future of Mormonism

As has frequently been noted by a variety of commentators, modern Mormonism seems to be entering what will be a very difficult cultural transition during the 21 century, where one of the defining issues will be whether the church will allow for greater cultural, social, and intellectual diversity among its ranks and still be able to maintain a sense of traditional communal identity or whether conservative forces will enact further retrenchment, thus leading to greater social fragmentation and disaffection at… Read more

Hamblin’s Misreading

I should begin by noting that if anyone wants to intelligently comment on the latest issue of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, please read it first. It’s available here (I hope the MI will make the article under discussion available free some time soon). Bill Hamblin has posted a critique of an article by B. Park, which has generated quite a bit of discussion on Dan Peterson’s blog. I’m going to respond to Hamblin here on FPR because… Read more

Prolegomena to a Reconstruction of the Literary History of 1 Sam 1:1-4:1a: The Main Problems and Issues

[This is the beginning of a longer study about 1 Sam 1:1-4:1a that I’m still working on. Interested in comments, criticisms, or questions. I apologize about the formatting and other vagaries of the presentation resulting from copying and pasting from an original Word document.] From the rise of critical study of the Hebrew Bible, the Samuel narrative has long been a focus of literary and historical investigation. Spurred on by its unforgettable prose stories and the widespread assumption that it may… Read more

The 144,000 PARTHENOI of Revelation 14

The story of the 144,000 who stand with the Lamb on Mt. Zion in Rev 14:1-4 is one of those “flashpoints” in the interpretation of John’s vision. Craig R. Koester’s new commentary in the Anchor Bible, vol. 38A, has something of a new approach. To begin with, here is Koester’s translation. The emphasis is mine, and it indicates the places at which I wish to further explain Koester’s approach: Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount… Read more

Our Dirty Hands

In 1973 Michael Walzer wrote an article entitled “Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands.” In the article, Walzer argued that involvement in politics entails confronting difficult situations where values conflict. Adjudicating between values requires making compromises; and while most compromises can be understood in terms of mutual concessions interested parties make in order to further some common good, other situations are more extreme. These situations call for compromise in the sense of harming or demeaning something valuable. Walzer explains… Read more

New Kid in Town: Newest Anchor Bible Commentary on Revelation

This seems to be the year for commentaries on Revelation. And although there are a couple more on the way, Craig R. Koester’s work is such a good example of the genre that I’m crawling out from under my rock to write a bit about it. First off, it’s the newest addition to the Anchor Bible, joining an earlier volume on Revelation by Josephine Massyngberde Ford, so it’s labeled as volume 38a. It was published September, 30, 2014, and weighs… Read more

Principles for Dialogue and Mutual Edification

I recently concluded my 8th year as a blogger with FPR (or its earlier affiliate). In reflecting on the various debates and discussions I’ve seen or been involved in during this time, I started thinking about how these discussions modeled good and bad principles of dialogue. In a new year’s resolution of sorts, I’ve tried to identify a few principles of good dialogue. Here’s what I’ve come up with: (more…) Read more

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