Seething Rage and Quiet Satisfaction

Seething Rage and Quiet Satisfaction August 8, 2021


a METI event
From an event at the Jordanian Embassy a number of years ago, in honor of BYU’s Islamic Translation Series (later, the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, or METI). From left to right: the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Ambassador Marwan Muasher; Senator and Mrs. Harry Reid; then BYU President Merrill J. Bateman; and some vagrant who must have wandered in off the street  (Photo used courtesy of BYU)


This new little piece went up on the website of the Interpreter Foundation on Saturday:


Book of Moses Essays #67: Moses Witnesses the Fall: (Moses 4) Was Eve Beguiled? (Moses 4:5–12)




The Interpreter Foundation celebrated its ninth birthday last night (Saturday night) with a really delicious dinner for those of our volunteers and donors who were able to come.  Bruce Webster and Ryan Campbell provided perhaps the best smoked beef and pork that I’ve ever tasted, and we topped things off with chocolate cake from Magleby’s.


After dinner, we showed the little four-minute “ad” that we created for the 2021 FAIR Conference, just concluded, and then a twenty-minute section of our forthcoming docudrama, Undaunted: Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, which I expect to be ready for the public sometime in early to mid-October (though there can always be delays!).


This past year has been a really good one for Interpreter, and some additional good things are on their way.  Thanks to everybody — volunteers, donors, filmmakers, authors, and so forth — who has made the past nine years possible.  We started with literally nothing, not even a bank account, but a lot has been accomplished and we’re in a stronger position in just about every way than we’ve ever been before.




Responding to a request from someone whose requests I’m inclined to take very seriously, I spent a fair amount of time today writing up a history of the Islamic Translation Series and then of the broader Middle Eastern Texts Initiative that succeeded and included it.  Doing so was, I suppose, a good exercise toward writing my personal history and toward preparing my book on the Middle East for Latter-day Saints for publication.  Anyway, I include here the list of books that I came up with.  I’m not quite sure that it’s complete and I know that, in two or three cases, the categorization of the books is problematic.  For now, though, it’s the best that I have the time to do:


A List of Publications from the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative

The Islamic Translation Series (14, thus far)

Al-Ghazali. The Incoherence of the Philosophers

Al-Ghazali.  The Niche of Lights

Qadi ‘Abd al-Jabbar.  Critique of Christian Origins

Abu Hatim al-Razi.  The Proofs of Prophecy

Avicenna [Ibn Sina].  The Physics of The Healing, Books I and II

Avicenna [Ibn Sina].  The Metaphysics of The Healing

Mulla Sadra.  The Elixir of the Gnostics

Averroës [Ibn Rushd].  Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s De Anima

Classical Foundations of Islamic Educational Thought

Averroës [Ibn Rushd].  Decisive Treatise and Epistle Dedicatory

Suhrawardi.  The Philosophy of Illumination

Mulla Sadra.  Metaphysical Penetrations

The Alexandrian Epitomes of Galen, vol 1

Dawud al-Muqammas.  Twenty Chapters.

The Medical Works of Moses Maimonides (17, thus far)

On Asthma, vol. 1

Medical Aphorisms, vol. 1 (Treatises 1–5)

Medical Aphorisms, vol. 2 (Treatises 6–9)

On Asthma, vol. 2

On Poisons and the Protection against Lethal Drugs

Medical Aphorisms, vol. 3 (Treatises 10–15)

On Hemorrhoids

On Rules Regarding the Practical Part of the Medical Art

Medical Aphorisms, vol. 4 (Treatises 16–21)

Medical Aphorisms, vol. 5 (Treatises 22–25)

On Coitus

On the Regimen of Health

On the Elucidation of Some Symptoms and the Response to Them (Formerly Known as On the Causes of Symptoms)

Commentary on Hippocrates’ Aphorisms, 2 vols

Medical Aphorisms: Hebrew Translation by Nathan ha-Mea’ti

Medical Aphorisms: Hebrew Translation by Zerahyah ben She’altiel Hen

Medical Aphorisms: Glossary & Indexes

Eastern Christian Texts (10, thus far)

Three Christian Martyrdoms from Early Islamic Palestine

Hunayn ibn Ishaq on His Galen Translations

The First Christian Hymnal: The Songs of the Ancient Jerusalem Church.

The Patriarch and the Caliph: An Eighth-Century Dialogue between Timothy I and al-Mahdi.

On This Day: The Armenian Church Synaxarion: January

On This Day: The Armenian Church Synaxarion: February

On This Day: The Armenian Church Synaxarion: April

Ephrem the Syrian: Select Poems.

Yahya ibn ‘Adi.  The Reformation of Morals.

Theodore Abu Qurrah.


I don’t pretend, of course, that I did it all alone.  That would be criminally far from the truth.  Others helped very much along the way, and some did much of the day to day production work.  But the series was my idea.  One of the few ideas in my life that I can claim as altogether my very own.  And I take no small satisfaction in that.  I led the project for most of its life, until I was dismissed.  It’s not the worst possible legacy, and the books represent a significant contribution to Islamic studies, Jewish studies, eastern Christian studies, the history of philosophy, and several other related fields.  I’m so very pleased that Brigham Young University and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints backed, blessed, and endorsed the effort.  Crucial figures at the birth of the project were the late Elder Alexander Morrison of the Seventy and the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve.  Elder Maxwell continued to be supportive for the rest of his life, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland also enthusiastically backed the undertaking.  So did BYU President Merrill J. Bateman.  I’m grateful to all of them.




I’m apparently seething with rage about Stephen Smoot’s Thursday afternoon FAIR Conference talk, “Abraham and the Stranger at Sodom and Gomorrah,” which I’ve already briefly mentioned here and here.  I know that I’m enraged because I’ve read about it online.


I told Br’er Smoot of my volcanic fury during the Interpreter Foundation birthday party on Saturday night.  We enjoyed a hearty laugh about it.  (Of course, I temporarily managed to conceal my indignation; I doubt that he noticed my explosive displeasure at all, really.)


If I were angry and infuriated even half as often as my obsessive and bizarre Malevolent Stalker likes to claim that I am, the energy generated by my boiling wrath could probably power a medium-sized city.  (People who actually know me will also know how seriously to take sensational claims of my perpetually churning outrage.)





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