February 17, 2019

    On the website of the Interpreter Foundation:   “Come, Follow Me New Testament Lesson 8: February 18–24 Matthew 5; Luke 6 “Blessed Are Ye””   ***   A curious account:   “An Example of the Folly of “Sign-Seeking” from Early Welsh Latter-day Saint History”   ***   As I say, I read an article on Friday by the late Dallas Willard and Brandon Rickabaugh, the first of whom taught in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Southern California and the… Read more

February 17, 2019

    Additional notes from Dallas Willard and Brandon Rickabaugh, “Intentionality contra Physicalism: On the Mind’s Independence from the Body,” Philosophia Christi 20/2  (2018): 497-516.  The late Professor Willard taught philosophy at the University of Southern California; Brandon Rickabaugh teaches philosophy at Baylor University.   The authors quote from C. J. Ducasse, A Critical Examination of the Belief in a Life after Death (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1961), 203: [T]he balance of the evidence so far (thus) obtained is on the side of the… Read more

February 16, 2019

    I’m happy — to put it mildly — that the Supreme Court of the United States is now pretty solidly conservative.  Indeed, I hope that that conservative majority will grow.  In a recent case, though, I believe that the conservative majority ruled incorrectly and I find myself agreeing with Justice Elena Kagan in dissent:   New York Times:  “Is Religious Freedom for Christians Only?  Domineque Hakim Marcelle Ray wanted an imam by his side when he was executed…. Read more

February 16, 2019

    Matthew 9:9-13 Mark 2:13-17 Luke 5:27-32   This account, of the calling of Levi or Matthew, provides one of our clearest glimpses into the character of Jesus.  And it’s a very impressive one.   Levi or Matthew is himself a tax collector — not the most highly esteemed profession then or now, perhaps, but infinitely worse then.  And Jesus is portrayed as dining with a whole group of “tax collectors and sinners.”   When he’s rebuked for the… Read more

February 16, 2019

    For years, I strongly disliked air travel.  Now, though, I rather like it.  I cherish the uninterrupted hours that it gives me for reading and for catching up on films that I’ve wanted to see.   Yesterday, I read Dallas Willard and Brandon Rickabaugh, “Intentionality contra Physicalism: On the Mind’s Independence from the Body,” Philosophia Christi 20/2  (2018): 497-516.  The late Professor Willard taught in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Southern California; Brandon Rickabaugh teaches… Read more

February 16, 2019

    I don’t recall, off hand, whether I mentioned yesterday that the latest installment of the biweekly joint Hamblin/Peterson column had appeared in the Deseret News.  It’s entitled “The 10 incarnations of Vishnu.”   ***   It’s impossible to miss the strong similarities in the designs of the small new temples that have recently been released for Guam, Cabo Verde, and Puerto Rico.  Predictably, some have derided them.  But they clearly reflect President Russell M. Nelson’s desire — about… Read more

February 15, 2019

    On one of the planes today, I began reading Rolf Dobelli, Die Kunst des klugen Handelns: 52 Irrwege, die Sie besser anderen überlassen (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 2014).  The title translates to something like “The Art of Smart Action: 52 Wrong Paths that Would Be Better Left to Others.”  Rolf Dobelli is a Swiss author whose earlier book Die Kunst des klaren Denkens (“The Art of Clear Thinking”) I admired enormously.   One of the chapters that I… Read more

February 15, 2019

    Luke 5:1-11 Compare Matthew 13:1-3; 4:18-22; Mark 4:1-2; 1:16-20; John 21:1-11   On one level, it seems a fairly insignificant miracle.  But it’s a teaching moment.   “You’re impressed by a miraculous catch of fish?” Jesus implicitly asks his astonished disciples.  “Don’t be afraid.  From this point on, you’ll be catching men.”   In after years, persecuted, harassed, traveling with difficulty even when not being threatened, encountering rejection, the apostles could look back on this experience and regain… Read more

February 15, 2019

    It’s Friday.  So, naturally — did you really expect otherwise? — there is a new article up in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:   “Curiously Unique: Joseph Smith as Author of the Book of Mormon”   Abstract: The advent of the computer and the internet allows Joseph Smith as the “author” of the Book of Mormon to be compared to other authors and their books in ways essentially impossible even a couple of decades ago. Six criteria can demonstrate the presence… Read more

February 14, 2019

    Matthew 8:14-15 Mark 1:23-31 Luke 4:38-39   The references in all three of the synoptic gospels to Christ’s healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (πενθερὰ) tell us one thing for an absolute certainty:  The first pope was married!     Note, incidentally, how directly Jesus goes from the synagogue into Peter’s house.  The two seem to be located very near each other, as, indeed, the traditional site of Peter’s house in Capernaum is located virtually next door to the… Read more

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