Good and Evil

Today I had a thought about the problem of evil that I wanted to run by you all. In traditional Protestant theology, the Fall contaminates human nature. The Fall explains the problem of evil. Contrast this with some "Gnostic" theologies that explain evil by means of a wicked creator-god who produced a defective world. In these same theologies, human beings have their origin in the upper divine realm, and are fundamentally good. They sin out of ignorance, but by nature human beings are … [Read more...]

The Documentary Hypothesis: Do you Believe?

Mormon scholars tend to be ambivalent towards the Documentary Hypothesis, the model of current biblical scholarship. The basic idea behind the Documentary Hypothesis – that the Bible is a composition of several sources which were developed over many years and then redacted into a single work – has definite implications for the way we view the Bible. Moreover, the Documentary Hypothesis poses a challenge to traditional claims about LDS scripture.For example, the cosmogony (explanation of how the … [Read more...]

Oh Snap! Society of Biblical Literature is lame all around

Anyone interested in the state of Biblical Studies in North America should read this article:The Chronicle: 11/10/2006: What's Wrong With the Society of Biblical Literature?It raises a lot of important questions about the kind of pedantic scholarship that biblical studies has cultivated. Clearly lay people are bored to tears by most of what biblical studies produces. It has carefully avoided anything interesting or truly controversal since the mid-ninetes. But what interests me is the … [Read more...]

Petitionary Prayer

It is a common introductory problem in theology to think about the purpose of petitionary prayer. If God is all-knowing, what need is there to tell him what you want (Matt 6:8)? Furthermore, if God is perfectly good, then he is already going to do what is in your best interest without your asking. So, the problem of petitionary prayer is that if God is all-knowing and perfectly good, there is no need to ask him. Mormons have taken a different view. Many traditional Christians have abandoned … [Read more...]

Mormon Studies, Big Money and U.

At the risk of sending our blog off on a tangent, I think we should consider one other aspect of the Mormonism/religious studies/BYU issue: what about the redder, better, and more secular school slightly north of Provo? Why doesn't the University of Utah have a religious studies department? Harris Lenowitz, professor of Hebrew and Judaism at the U of U, once answered this question. But what do you think?Regardless of whether or not the Utah legislature is to blame, we can all be fairly sure … [Read more...]

NKOTB: Handle

We wish to extend the warmest welcome to our newest blogger, Handle. Handle is an experienced blogger and participant in interesting conversations relating to Mormonism. We are pleased that he has agreed to share his expertise and we look forward to his posts. Hooray! … [Read more...]

Ancient Near Eastern Studies at BYU

On the advice of more experienced bloggers, I'm posting a (very slightly modified) comment I made on diahman's post:I've got to respond to (and disagree with) ben's statement:I would actually put up BYU's new ANES degree (replacing the old NE Studies degree) against any undergrad Biblical studies degree at other schools.I agree in nuce with ben's other posts and the fruitful discussion regarding the creation of the Ancient Near Eastern Studies major. From all I can tell, it's giving BYU … [Read more...]

What to do with BYU Religion

On analogy with a recent post by Clark Goble on M*, and in the spirit of Sweeps, I want to bring up an honest question, without being sarcastic, demeaning, or combative:What is the purpose of Religious Education at BYU? I realize that they define it on their home page, but I specifically want to take a more functional look. Does having a faculty concerned with "preserving the doctrine" fill a role fundamentally different from that of the LDS Institutes? If so, what is that role? If not, why is … [Read more...]


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