May 26, 2019

    Matthew 26:57-68 Mark 14:53-65 Luke 22:54-71 John 18:13-24 Compare Matthew 26:55, 67-75; 27:1-2; Mark 14:49, 65-72; 15:1; Luke 19:47; 22:53, 63-65; John 2:19; 18:25-27   My longtime friend and colleague John W. Welch, who is not only a professor of law but a superb scholar of the Bible and antiquity, has published several items about the trial of Jesus.  See the list here, for example.     Matthew 26:69-75 Mark 14:66-72 John 18:25-27 Compare Luke 22:56-72; John 18:15-18… Read more

May 26, 2019

    “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”   That quotation, often (but probably incorrectly) attributed to the former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, has been on my mind a bit over the past few days, since I posted my entry “John Gee’s good news.”   In response to that little post of mine, which was written fairly carefully to avoid reigniting any long-simmering controversy between those who founded the Maxwell Institute (formerly the Foundation… Read more

May 26, 2019

      I’ve found myself thinking today about how geography has influenced the history of, respectively, England and Israel.   To make my point about the first, I can do no better than to quote the famous words spoken by the dying John of Gaunt in William Shakespeare’s Richard II (Act II, Scene 1), which refer to the isolated position enjoyed by the British Isles, separated from Europe by the English Channel and the North Sea:   This royal… Read more

May 25, 2019

    Matthew 26:47-56 Mark 14:43-52 Luke 22:47-53 John 18:2-12 Compare John 17:12; 18:20, 36   1.   The fact that Judas needed to identify Jesus (ironically, with a kiss) for those who had been sent to arrest the Savior demonstrates that Jesus didn’t have an unusual appearance.  He didn’t, for example, habitually levitate six inches off the ground, or glow, or wear luminescent white robes.   This is obvious, of course, when we think about it.  But I mention it… Read more

May 25, 2019

    I published the column below in the Deseret News for 5 April 2018:   “The singing of hymns,” President Dallin H. Oaks, the first counselor in the LDS Church’s First Presidency, observed in “Worship through Music,” “is one of the best ways to learn the doctrine of the restored gospel.” And, indeed, Latter-day Saint hymn lyrics, taken altogether, summarize essential church teachings remarkably well. Located at the very core of regular Mormon worship, they provide an instructive and… Read more

May 25, 2019

    The latest installment of the bi-weekly column that Bill Hamblin and I do for the Deseret News has appeared:   “Delos, the holy island”   ***   Neal Rappleye, Jasmin Rappleye, Stephen Smoot and Hales Swift were the hosts for the 5 May 2019 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show.  They discussed the recent Interpreter article on Joseph Smith as the “World’s Greatest Guesser” and a new volume on the New Testament, as well as “Come Follow Me”… Read more

May 24, 2019

    Matthew 26:36-46 Mark 14:32-42 Luke 22:39-46 John 18:1 Compare Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; John 12:27; 14:31   1.   The Garden of Gethsemane isn’t and wasn’t a garden in the sense familiar to most Europeans and North Americans.  That is, it featured neither carrots, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce,  nor different varieties of roses.  It probably wasn’t very green.  It was (and is) an olive orchard.  And it was probably a favorite place of the Savior’s because the most… Read more

May 24, 2019

    President and Sister Russell M. Nelson, accompanied by Elder and Sister Gerrit W. Gong, continue their Pacific ministry tour:   “Latter-day Prophet Meets with Tongan King and Queen: President Nelson visits a kingdom rich in Church history”   In the meantime, the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visits the Indian subcontinent for the first time:   “President M. Russell Ballard Teaches and Inspires on His First Visit to India”     I’m pleased that the… Read more

May 24, 2019

    Sigh.  The ever-dying Interpreter Foundation — I’ve been seeing anonymous online claims again that we’re on the verge of financial extinction and that essentially nobody reads anything that we do — has just published a new article in its flagship publication, Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:   “D&C 21, George Albert Smith, and Hugh B. Brown: A Fresh Look at Three Incidents in Church History”   Abstract. When discussions arise about the relationship between Church members and the… Read more

May 23, 2019

    John 16:29-33   Jesus is confident here that, even though the disciples will be scattered, he won’t be alone because the Father will be with him.   I think, though, that even he may have been surprised by what he would soon experience during the process of the Atonement.  Because, for a period of about twenty-four hours, from the beginning of his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane through the culmination of his agony on the cross, the… Read more

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