September 19, 2018

First, to continue from last week, is Isaiah’s love of wordplay and pun, which drives much of Isaiah’s word choice. Although we call this “wordplay” in English (or paronomasia, if you’re being technical) this was for literary effect and making it memorable; not for cleverness or frivolous entertainment. For example, in 24:17 we read Isaiah speaking of “terror, a pit, and a snare.” These nouns are pachad, wa-pachat, wa-pach (wa meaning “and” here, a conjunction) See the  Anchor Bible Dictionary article, “Wordplay”. The lesson... Read more

September 8, 2018

Normally I’d begin with a link to my podcast and transcript… except it appears that while I wrote 90% of a podcast in 2010, I never recorded it. Amos was the last podcast I put up. Consider this an intro to Isaiah. I have a confession. I’ve never really cared much for Isaiah. I’ve always found other parts of the Old Testament more interesting. When writing a podcast, I always go consult my preexisting notes I’ve prepared from personal study or teaching... Read more

September 6, 2018

Yes, everyone’s favorite book is upon us. I’m not sure there’s any sarcasm there; I know lots of Mormons who love Isaiah, and even have an uncle who memorized the entire book (in the KJV.) The next 5 Gospel Doctrine lessons cover Isaiah, so I wanted to plug a few things. Of all the books, Isaiah benefits most from both deep connections to the spirit and being able to read in context. I don’t talk much about the former, it’s not really quantifiable,... Read more

September 3, 2018

BYU’s Late Summer Honors offered a course recently called, “What Does it Mean to be Human? A Scientific and Spiritual Journey into Human Origins.” I was invited to take a 3-hr class period to talk about what Genesis has to say about evolution and the place of humanity in creation. I’ve presented much of what I said before, in other venues, but virtually everything was new to these freshman honors students. By necessity, I tried to keep it simple and... Read more

August 26, 2018

I really like Amos; so much, in fact, that I’m ignoring Joel completely today. I have a podcast on Amos here, much of which is reflected in the text below. Amos is a powerful straight-shooting no-nonsense guy, but also subversive,  “confrontational and abrasive. There is no attempt to win over the people he condemns.” (Collins, Introduction  to  the  Hebrew  Bible: An  Inductive  Reading  of  the  Old Testament) Contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea, Amos hails from Tekoa, a small village 10 miles south of... Read more

August 15, 2018

First off, my podcast and transcript on Hosea are here. The manual suggests primary focus on Hosea 1-3 (the marriage metaphor) and 11, 13, 14 (invitations to repent.) However, Hosea is not long, and reading the whole thing in preparation is fairly quick. I also recommend this post from the Mormon Women Project. (more…) Read more

August 15, 2018

Jonah Jonah is four short chapters. I’ve done a lot with Jonah in the past, addressing the short book several times, from several angles, including the history question. In brief, if you’re focused on the “whale” instead of the last four verses of chapter 4, you’re entirely missing the point. (more…) Read more

August 14, 2018

Raymond E. Brown SS, was a Catholic priest and Bible scholar, known for his Introduction to the New Testament, his volumes in the Anchor Bible Commentary series, and other academic and semi-popular works. He also wrote a popular book called 101 Questions on the Bible which has some really great stuff. As you might expect from the title, he presents this in Q&A format. Several questions address the nature of scripture and genre, but also how to teach and preach passages... Read more

August 12, 2018

Today we come to another little-read and little-known jewel of the Old Testament. It has not traditionally been appreciated; as Elder McConkie said, “Job is for people who like Job.” I suspect we’ve simply never been “competent readers” or at least, not competent enough to appreciate it. (On “competent readers” see this excerpt from Brettler’s excellent How to Read the Bible and this from John Barton’s Reading the Old Testament) Fortunately, there’s a newish book out by Michael Austin called Re-Reading Job: Understanding the Ancient... Read more

August 12, 2018

First, it looks like I didn’t do a podcast for Lesson 31 OR 32 in 2010, so no link to offer there. The Manual is here. But the good news is, this is the lesson you’ve all been waiting for. Most scripture wasn’t written for the purpose of “daily application” or even “how to live a righteous life.” If that’s what you’ve been looking for in the Old Testament, it’s probably been difficult. Schlimm calls this the “Searching for Saints” model... Read more

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