The pendulum swings, and Christmas returns: unconscious Gospel marketing

LDS have at times emphasized uniquely LDS characteristics, and at other times focused on what we have in common with other Christians. Armand Mauss talks about this in terms of maintaining optimum tension with the surrounding culture;  I can't decide if what I'm about to describe is simply a restate of that principle, or a parallel principle in a different realm. … [Read more...]

The Scriptures: an Anthology; or, Why Jonah and the Book of Mormon Have No Bearing On Each Other

When I teach Sunday School or Priesthood, I naturally draw on my experiences and knowledge in preparing the lesson. This means I tend to express my opinions (clearly labeled as such), which strike most people as novel and, put kindly, "interesting." A ward member sent me an email after I taught one such lesson, and the conversation turned first towards questions of genre and historicity in the Old Testament, and then towards the historicity of the Book of Mormon. After hearing my view that the … [Read more...]

Announcing Jim Faulconer and “Speaking Silence”

James Faulconer, BYU Philosophy professor has joined Patheos to write a weekly column, Speaking Silence.One of the goals of Patheos is to enrich inter-religious understanding, and make the Other more accessible.  As such, it seemed a natural fit to invite Prof. Faulconer because he holds the Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding. His other academic credentials are easily found, but I know he also takes great interest in France, (French)  food and Romans, among other things. We wel … [Read more...]

Podcasts are back! And on iTunes! Today, Ezekiel

We do have some work to do with iTunes in terms of getting the descriptors and links and such correct, but the important thing is, you can now subscribe and new podcasts will download automatically. Search iTunes podcasts for "One Eternal Round" "Patheos" or Spackman, and you'll get there. Or try this link.Transcript [audio:] Notes and Links … [Read more...]

Audio- Reading the Bible Critically and Religiously: Jewish, Catholic and Protestant Perspectives

I posted a link and thoughts on Peter Enns' take on the question of reading the Bible through both academic and religious/devotional lenses. Now the audio of the entire panel presentation is available. Marc Brettler of Brandeis presents a Jewish perspective and Daniel J. Harrington (Boston College) a Catholic perspective. The whole thing is moderated by Jeffrey Tigay (University of Pennsylvania, himself a great Jewish scholar of the Hebrew Bible) and includes a Q&A with students. It's worth … [Read more...]

Announcing Rosalynde Welch, Salt and Seed

Rosalynde Welch will be contributing a weekly column to the Mormon Portal, entitled Salt and Seed.  Rosalynde is known around the LDS blogs for her presence at Times&Seasons, but also writes  on interreligious issues for the St Louis Post-Dispatch. She also serves as the managing editor of the Mormon Review, and she steals the occasional afternoon to pursue her own research agendas in early modern literature and Mormon literature and philosophy. She holds degrees in English literature f … [Read more...]

Announcing Joanna Brooks and other columnists

Joanna Brooks has brought Ask Mormon Girl to Patheos as the first column on the Mormon Portal.Joanna is an English professor at  San Diego State, and we're happy to welcome her and her perspectives. (More at MormonScholarsTestify) If you have a question for the Ask Mormon Girl column, send it to askmormongirlATgmailDOTcomWe'll be adding at least two more columnists in the very near future, so check back to see. AMG and the other columns will live just below the rotator on the main Mormon … [Read more...]

Encultured prophets and the firmament: Peter Enns continued

In my last post (and hinted at in the one before that), I raised the idea that prophets tend to share the worldviews and myths of their culture, with myth properly defined as something like "worldview expressed in narrative." Their revelations are by necessity received and framed within that worldview. In other words, prophets in different times and places would understand the world differently, though they may share some revealed knowledge of the Gospel. Put very bluntly, some prophets in the … [Read more...]

Scripture, History and Myth: A Perfect Modern Example from NPR!

We’re way past Genesis at this point, but like the poor, the issue of non-historical scripture will always be among us. Most people know of the genre of "parable" because they’re in the Gospels, but "myth" is very poorly understood and the term carries a lot of negative baggage. You have to be very careful throwing around the term. One simple definition of myth is that myth is worldview in narrative form. That is, it's a way of explaining one’s  conception of how the world works, in everyday lang … [Read more...]

Balancing tradition with faith and scholarship: a Mormon application of Peter Enns

In my own struggles to balance faith and tradition with scholarship, I find it useful to see how others have done so, particularly when I see close structural parallels between the two traditions. Peter Enns speaks from a Protestant perspective but Protestants aren't the sole source of useful insight. I've enjoyed Jewish perspectives more, explored in fictional narratives like The Chosen and The Promise. The tensions between traditional views and scholarship  that Enns highlights among … [Read more...]