Continuing with my reading of John W . Welch, et al., eds., Knowing Why: 137 Evidences That the Book of Mormon Is True (American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2017):
“Why Did Jacob Share the Allegory of the Olive Tree?” (156-157)
One of the great chapters in the Book of Mormon is Jacob 5. One of the best efforts of the old FARMS in its heyday was the 1994 volume The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5.
The little article here tries to explain why Jacob deployed that wonderful allegory. One aspect of it strikes me. The article directs our attention to Jacob 4:15-17. It turns out that the passage is laced in remarkable ways with repeated references to Psalm 118:22, Isaiah 8:14-15, and Isaiah 28:16.
Could I have done that on the fly? No, I could not. Could the unlearned Joseph Smith, who, his mother recalled, had never read the Bible through when he was a boy? No, I’m confident that he could not.
Both Psalm 118 and the two Isaiah passages have temple settings. This is consistent with Jacob’s calling as a temple priest. Was Joseph Smith really that cunning? I doubt it.
Jacob’s reference to the stone of stumbling refers, simultaneously, to the Son of God. There seems to be a word play going on, involving the Hebrew word for “son” (ben) and the Hebrew word for “stone” (eben). Was that something that Joseph Smith could have done, with no Hebrew in 1828 and only about two months of formal education? Color me doubtful.
Available on the Interpreter Foundation’s website: a podcast interview with Josh Madsen on “The Dead Sea Scrolls.”
From Our Man in Shanghai, the invaluable Dr. Jeff Lindsay:
The remarkable Robert Boylan, writing from Ireland, recommends a very interesting book:
And he draws a very important point from it:
Compare “Going up to Jerusalem.”
Clever boy, that Joseph Smith!
Another wicked, mean-spirited, ad hominem screed in my weekly Deseret News “Defending the Faith” series:
Come March, incidentally, by decree of the Deseret News, my weekly column will be reduced to appearing only every other week.
I’m inexpressibly proud of the conservative Latter-day Saint politicians who have declined to board the Trump train. Here’s an article from England’s Guardian newspaper about them:
I understand that the Trump administration has done some good things. I’m a conservative. I get it. And I’m happy about it. I delighted that Justice Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court, and that other conservative judges have been appointed to the federal bench. I’m pleased that ISIS is on the run. But I will not, I simply cannot, endorse the man Donald Trump.