Some methodological guidelines for the dating of biblical texts

New post on the dating of biblical texts … [Read More...]

Why study the Bible as a topic of humanistic inquiry?

I have a new post up on humanistic study of the Bible … [Read More...]

Review of Gard Granerød, Dimensions of Yahwism in the Persian Period: Studies in the Religion and Society of the Judaean Community at Elephantine (de Gruyter, 2016)

I posted a review of a valuable new book on Judaean religion at Elephantine on my blog. … [Read More...]

Canonical Criticism of the Book of Mormon?

The following is a brief response to Michael Austin's post "Canon as Context: Insights from the Bible Wars" published yesterday at BCC, in which he advocates that more students of the BoM should adopt something along the lines of the canonical criticism developed by biblical scholar Brevard S. Childs as a means of breaking through the debate over BoM historicity.I practice biblical criticism, and while I appreciate Austin's call to focus greater attention on the text of the BoM, I have re … [Read More...]

Call for Papers: Book of Mormon Studies

Book of Mormon Studies: Toward a ConversationAcademic study of the Book of Mormon has never been more promising than at present. Royal Skousen’s work on producing a critical text is nearing completion, and the Joseph Smith Papers Project is making the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon widely available. Terryl Givens and Paul Gutjahr’s work has provided a basic outline on the reception history of the book. Brant Gardner has provided students of the Book of Mormon with a richly sourced and sub … [Read More...]

The Cyclical Nature of BYU’s Religious Education

A guest post from Mrs. Silence DogoodOne of the most interesting books on Mormon history to appear in the last year was Thomas Simpson’s American Universities and the Birth of Modern Mormonism (University of North Carolina Press). You can read reviews of the book here, here, here, and here, as well as interviews here and here. As a summary, Simpson argues that the Mormon tradition’s awkward, uneven, but relentless interaction with higher education drove much of the Americanization process dur … [Read More...]

Review of Mark Smith, Where the Gods Are: Spatial Dimensions of Anthropomorphism in the Biblical World

I've put up my review of Mark Smith, Where the Gods Are: Spatial Dimensions of Anthropomorphism in the Biblical World (Yale University, 2016). The book is a stimulating and concise exploration of a timely topic. … [Read More...]

The death of Book of Mormon antiquity research?

Book of Mormon antiquity research has changed a lot since since the late 1990s. Not so long ago, it appeared that the future looked bright for the project to authenticate the BoM. Even in 2005 Richard Bushman could write, "the proponents [of an ancient BoM] are as energetic and ingenious as the critics in mustering support for the historicity of the Book of Mormon. On the whole better trained, with more technical language skills than their opponents, they are located mainly at Brigham Young U … [Read More...]

Chaoskampf, the Garden of Eden, and the Mountains of Lebanon

I have a new paper up on the Garden of Eden that explores its mythological background in Canaanite-Israelite mythological tradition. Among other things, I argue that the mysterious ʾēd that comes up to water the ground in Gen 2:6 is correctly translated “flood” and that the motif hearkens back to an ancient Canaanite myth in which El created the world through defeating the primordial Sea monster. This discovery then leads me to reconstruct how the biblical Garden of Eden story has evolved over ti … [Read More...]

John Hall and why we can’t have nice, biblical things (part 2)

This may become a recurring series. Who knows. There is a mountain of material with more coming out each year it seems. Anyway, today's installment comes from John F. Hall, a former professor of Classical Studies at BYU and self-styled scholar of the New Testament. In his 2002 monograph New Testament Witnesses of Christ: Peter, John, James, and Paul (Covenant) the reader finds this (p. 59):"Modern critics resort to literary analysis and redaction criticism to dismiss the accounts of Mark and … [Read More...]