Lehi in Arabia, and John Gee in Asian and Near Eastern Languages

Lehi in Arabia, and John Gee in Asian and Near Eastern Languages June 13, 2019


Napoleon as John Gee
An oil portrait of Dr. John Gee seated in the William Gay Research Chair, by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


The most recent column in my Deseret News series “Defending the Faith” has appeared.  It deals with the language — odd and perhaps rather obscure to modern speakers of English — of a famous prophecy of the ancient apostasy as that prophecy is rendered in the 1611 King James translation of the Bible:


“What does it mean that ‘only he who now letteth will let’?”




Our friends and colleagues at Book of Mormon Central have produced a really fine video summarizing basic points about the journey of Lehi and his party through early sixth-century Arabia.  It’s just slightly more than eight minutes long, and I strongly recommend taking a look at it:


“Watch: Compelling Book of Mormon Evidence for Lehi’s Journey through Arabia”




“Answer Questions the ‘Right Way in the Right Time,’ Apostle Tells Church Educators: Elder Holland and others speak at worldwide training broadcast”


An official statement from the Church:


“Changes to Emphasize the Correct Name of the Church of Jesus Christ”




I continue to see claims on various message boards that Dr. John Gee, my friend, former student, and former colleague at the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies and its approximate successor organization, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, was tossed out of the Maxwell Institute, that he’s only an adjunct professor, and that he has been ejected from the William Gay Research Chair.


These claims are false.  I frankly expect that they’re intended, in many cases, to marginalize and diminish him, to insinuate that the University has repudiated him and his work, and so forth.


It is true, of course, that he is now a member of the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages in the College of Humanities of Brigham Young University.  That’s my own department, and I’m thoroughly delighted that Dr. Gee is now a member of it and, once again, a colleague of mine.  I’m confident that he’ll be happier in Asian and Near Eastern Languages than in his prior campus home.  He has been placed in the department’s Hebrew section, which seems the best fit for him and for his research interests.  (Arabic wasn’t ideal, and our other sections — Chinese, Japanese, and Korean — were plainly inappropriate.)


He is still a full-time member of the BYU faculty, not an adjunct instructor, as a look at the entry for him on the Asian and Near Eastern Languages website plainly shows:




And, as can also be seen at a glance, he continues to serve as the William Gay Research Professor.  Since, however, there is as yet no photograph of Dr. Gee on the department website, I’ve very deliberately chosen the illustration for this blog entry in order to illustrate his continued holding of that Chair in a memorable way.



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