The Book of Mormon Wars

Over the weekend I became aware of a piece written by Stephen Smoot at the Interpreter that reminded me the Book of Mormon Wars are unfortunately alive and well in some quarters. Uncompromisingly, Smoot declares BoM historicity to be an all or nothing affair and identifies those who promote an inspired fiction theory as not only intellectually compromised but faithless to boot. In my opinion, this kind of rhetoric does a real disservice to the Mormon community, since instead of trying to cont … [Read More...]

For Thus It Is Written

Check out an interesting new blog analyzing the influence of the KJV on the scripture produced by Joseph Smith: "For Thus It Is Written": Joseph Smith's Use of Biblical Texts … [Read More...]

Critiques of Nahom and Lehi’s journey

 Recently the Interpreter blog has published a few responses to my articles exploring the significance of the mention of Nahom in the BoM, first a brief comment by S. Kent Brown and then a much longer two-part article by Jeff Lindsay. Not surprisingly, both found my thesis that the story of Lehi’s journey originated as imaginative mythological literature and that the reference to Nahom reflects dependence on a map to be unpersuasive. Still, I appreciate that they were generous enough to … [Read More...]

“That’s not how the Church Presents Itself”: An Irreverent Response

The Church is largely to blame for the faith crisis among segments of the Mormon community. It promoted a black and white worldview where Truth is self-evident, and it supported this view with “faith-promoting” narratives that ignored the messy facts of history. One of the fruits of this approach is having this very mentality reflected back on the Church—when joining the Church is an existential choice, leaving it can likewise be existential. Disillusionment with the Church oddly does not neces … [Read More...]

Redaction Analysis and the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document

We are pleased to offer the following guest post from friend of the blog "Steve." (Update: An earlier version of this post did not preserve correct formatting for the analysis). Modern biblical scholarship has developed several literary tools to help understand the origins and development of scriptural texts. Among the most prominent are source analysis and redaction analysis. (Redaction is a fancy word for “editing.”) These can be complicated endeavors, especially when they are applied to an … [Read More...]

Review of R. Kratz, Historical and Biblical Israel: The History, Tradition, and Archives of Israel and Judah (2015)

I have posted a review of an important new work in Hebrew Bible study at my blog. … [Read More...]

The god Gad

I have a new post up on one of the lesser known deities of the Bible, the god Gad. I argue that Gad is not an independent deity of good fortune, as scholars have often assumed, but is merely an epithet of Canaanite El. … [Read More...]

Taylor Petrey is Tenured: What does This Mean for LDS Scholars of Religion?

We’ve been running our Tips on Applying Series for nearly a decade. We heard from Taylor Petrey back in 2010 when he offered some advice on securing an academic position in religious studies. Taylor has recently received tenure, which is a big deal not only for him, but for all Latter-day Saints involved in the study of religion. He graciously agreed to talk to us about his work and how he earned tenure.  … [Read More...]

The Scholarly Mantle

I've been thinking lately about the ethics and abuses of the scholarly mantle. As someone who aspires to produce scholarship of worth to my own community and the larger world, I highly value being honest and candid about what I claim to know or do not know, and when I endeavor to advance a definite historical claim I try to be as well informed as reasonably possible, always making sure to get a handle on the full gamut of relevant evidence, even if this process may complicate my working hypothe … [Read More...]

New Seals discovered in Jerusalem

I have a new post up on my blog, which has been changed to a new address (http://www.religionofancientpalestine.com), on the late Iron Age seals recently discovered in Jerusalem. http://www.religionofancientpalestine.com/?p=452 … [Read More...]


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