“Oh, that I were an angel”

“Oh, that I were an angel” November 5, 2021


Edfu inner courtyard
In the main inner courtyard of the Temple of Horus at Edfu, in Egypt.  The Interpreter Foundation “Ultimate Egypt” tour will visit the Edfu Temple later this month (November 2021).

(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)




A new article appeared today in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship.  It was written by someone too mean-spirited, nasty, dishonest, and ignorant to mention.  (I’ve been reading some anonymous online comments about the author, so I know.)


“Oh, That I Were an Angel!”

Abstract: Alma’s conversion experience was both unusual and unusually powerful, and yet he fervently wished that he could provide others with the same experience. So much so, in fact, that he actually feared that he might be sinning in his wish by seeming to oppose the will of God. Increasingly, though, I find myself sharing that wish. My involvement with the Interpreter Foundation can correctly be regarded as one manifestation of that fact. I invite others to join us.




And here are links to a few articles from a prior number of Interpreter:


Val Larsen, “Josiah to Zoram to Sherem to Jarom and the Big Little Book of Omni”

Abstract: The first 450 years of Nephite history are dominated by two main threads: the ethno-political tension between Nephites and Lamanites and religious tension between adherents of rival theologies. These rival Nephite theologies are a Mantic theology that affirms the existence of Christ and a Sophic theology that denies Christ. The origin of both narrative threads lies in the Old World: the first in conflicts between Nephi and Laman, the second in Lehi’s rejection of King Josiah’s theological and political reforms. This article focuses on these interrelated conflicts. It suggests that Zoram, Laman, Lemuel, Sherem, and the Zeniffites were Deuteronomist followers of Josiah. The small plates give an account of how their Deuteronomist theology gradually supplanted the gospel of Christ. As the small plates close, their last author, Amaleki, artfully confronts his readers with a life-defining choice: having read the Book of Mormon thus far, will you remain, metaphorically, with the prophets in Zarahemla and embrace the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, or will you return to the land of Nephi and the theology you believed and the life you lived before you read the Book of Mormon?


Steven L. Olsen, “The Latest in Chiastic Studies for Interested Scholars and Lay Readers Alike”

Review of Chiasmus: The State of the Art, edited by John W. Welch and Donald W. Parry (Provo, UT: BYU Studies and Book of Mormon Central, 2020). 358 pages. $24.68, paperback.

Abstract: This collection of essays represents the latest scholarship on chiasmus. They were selected from papers delivered at an academic conference at Brigham Young University in 2017. Articles reflect both “the state of the art” and the state of the technique in chiastic studies.


John Gee, “Edfu and Exodus”

Abstract: In this essay John Gee draws a connection between the Egyptian “Book of the Temple” and the book of Exodus, both in structure and topic, describing the temple from the inside out. Gee concludes that both probably go back to a common source older than either of them.

[Editor’s Note: Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article is reprinted here as a service to the LDS community. Original pagination and page numbers have necessarily changed, otherwise the reprint has the same content as the original.

See John Gee, “Edfu and Exodus,” in Temple Insights: Proceedings of the Interpreter Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, “The Temple on Mount Zion,” 22 September 2012, ed. William J. Hamblin and David Rolph Seely (Orem, UT: The Interpreter Foundation; Salt Lake City: Eborn Books, 2014), 67–82. Further information at]


Matthew L. Bowen, ““The Messiah Will Set Himself Again”: Jacob’s Use of Isaiah 11:11 in 2 Nephi 6:14 and Jacob 6:2”

Abstract: In sermons and writings, Jacob twice quotes the prophecy of Isaiah 11:11 (“the Lord [ʾădōnāy] shall set his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to gather the remnant of his people”). In 2 Nephi 6:14 and Jacob 6:2, Jacob uses Isaiah 11:11 as a lens through which he interprets much lengthier prophetic texts that detail the restoration, redemption, and gathering of Israel: namely, Isaiah 49:22–52:2 and Zenos’s Allegory of the Olive Trees (Jacob 5). In using Isaiah 11:11 in 2 Nephi 6:14, Jacob, consistent with the teaching of his father Lehi (2 Nephi 2:6), identifies ʾădōnāy (“the Lord”) in Isaiah 11:11 as “the Messiah” and the one who will “set himself again the second time to recover” his people (both Israel and the righteous Gentiles who “believe in him”) and “manifest himself unto them in great glory.” This recovery and restoration will be so thoroughgoing as to include the resurrection of the dead (see 2 Nephi 9:1–2, 12–13). In Jacob 6:2, Jacob equates the image of the Lord “set[ting] his hand again [yôsîp] the second time to recover his people” (Isaiah 11:11) to the Lord of the vineyard’s “labor[ing] in” and “nourish[ing] again” the vineyard to “bring forth again” (cf. Hebrew yôsîp) the natural fruit (Jacob 5:29–33, 51–77) into the vineyard. All of this suggests that Jacob saw Isaiah 49:22–52:2 and Zenos’s allegory (Jacob 5) as telling essentially the same story. For Jacob, the prophetic declaration of Isaiah 11:11 concisely summed up this story, describing divine initiative and iterative action to “recover” or gather Israel in terms of the verb yôsîp. Jacob, foresaw this the divine action as being accomplished through the “servant” and “servants” in Isaiah 49–52, “servants” analogous to those described by Zenos in his allegory. For Jacob, the idiomatic use of yôsîp in Isaiah 11:11 as he quotes it in 2 Nephi 6:14 and Jacob 6:2 and as repeated throughout Zenos’s allegory (Jacob 5) reinforces the patriarch Joseph’s statement preserved in 2 Nephi 3 that this figure would be a “Joseph” (yôsēp).


Jeffrey Thayne, “Understanding Covenants Anew: Using Ancient Thought to Enrich Modern Faith”

Review of Jennifer C. Lane, Finding Christ in the Covenant Path: Ancient Insights for Modern Life, (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University / Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2020). 188 pages. Hardcover, $29.99.

Abstract: In the first half of her book, Lane takes us on a tour of ancient worlds by introducing us to ancient words, such as bĕrît (covenant), gā’al (redemption), pānîm (presence of the Lord), and so forth, while deftly weaving linguistic and historical insights with personal narratives that ground these insights in the practical affairs of day-to-day living. In the second half of the book, Lane takes us on a tour of medieval art and images, centering on how art has been used to portray the Savior and His mission. Throughout the entire book, Lane centers the attention of the reader on Christ, inviting us to take upon ourselves His image and likeness and to more fully appreciate the images crafted of Him by artists of prior centuries.


Zina Petersen, “Nibley’s Early Education”

Abstract: In this intimate glimpse of Hugh Nibley’s childhood, written by his daughter Zina, we read of what it was like for Hugh to grow up as a gifted child with Victorian parents and, in turn, what it was like for Zina and her siblings to grow up as a child in the home of Hugh and Phyllis. These poignant, never-before-told stories reveal why, in Zina’s words, “Hugh’s uniqueness lay as much in his inabilities as in his abilities, as much in what he refused to learn as what he refused to allow to remain unexamined.” And though it was obvious that his mind was extraordinarily sharp, we learn why “it was Hugh Nibley’s heart that made the difference. And it was a very good heart.”

[Editor’s Note: Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article is reprinted here as a service to the LDS community. Original pagination and page numbers have necessarily changed, otherwise the reprint has the same content as the original.

See Zina Nibley Petersen, “Nibley’s Early Education,” in Hugh Nibley Observed, ed. Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Shirley S. Ricks, and Stephen T. Whitlock (Orem, UT: The Interpreter Foundation; Salt Lake City: Eborn Books, 2021), 57–76. Further information at]


Posted from Cedar City, Utah



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