February 11, 2019

    Continuing from the prior post:   An interesting and, to my mind, important article appeared in the 13 October 2018 issue of The Economist:   “The retreat from meat: Why people in rich countries are eating more vegan food: The further they go, the better”   I’m drawing here from that article:   Across the “First World,” in affluent countries, interest in vegan foods has been rising sharply.  In the United States, for example, according to The Economist, sales of… Read more

February 11, 2019

    Over the past several years, I’ve enjoyed a few dinner table conversations at the annual FreedomFest in Las Vegas that, among others, included John Mackey, the libertarian co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market.  So, a few months ago, I read John Mackey, Alona Pulde, and Matthew Lederman, The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity (New York: Grand Central Life and Style, 2017).   I found the book, on the whole, rather persuasive.  And not… Read more

February 10, 2019

    John 3:23-36   Just a few quick remarks about this passage.   1.   I’ve already noted the reference to John’s having chosen his baptismal site (“at Aenon near Salim,” almost certainly on the Jordan River) “because there was much water there” (3:23).  This strongly suggests baptism by immersion rather than by sprinkling.   2.     The word Aenon reflects an underlying Aramaic term for a “spring” (similar in Hebrew and Arabic).  The famous Madaba Map in the Hashemite… Read more

February 10, 2019

    Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched with fascination — though, unfortunately, not altogether in surprise — at the reaction in a few places to the article by Steven T. Densley, Jr. and Geret Giles that appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship on 18 January 2019.  It is entitled “Barriers to Belief: Mental Distress and Disaffection from the Church”:   https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/barriers-to-belief-mental-distress-and-disaffection-from-the-church/   Here is the summary paragraph that precedes the published article:   Abstract: People leave the Church… Read more

February 10, 2019

    Here’s an item, designed to be helpful for New Testament study in Latter-day Saint classes and homes, from the Interpreter Foundation:   Come, Follow Me New Testament Lesson 6: Matthew 4; Luke 4–5 “The Spirit of the Lord Is upon Me”   ***   Here’s a brief video featuring Neal Rappleye — it’s less than four minutes long — that I think you’ll enjoy:   “WATCH: Archaeological evidence for Egyptian writing by Israelites in Book of Mormon times”   ***   Here’s… Read more

February 10, 2019

    I published the column below in the 9 November 2017 issue of the Deseret News:   Following studies at the University of Utah (punctuated by a life-transforming mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints among the Maori of New Zealand), Louis Midgley earned a doctorate in political science at Brown University, where his research focused on the work of such prominent Protestant theologians as Karl Barth. He wrote his dissertation on Paul Tillich, a German-American… Read more

February 10, 2019

    Several years ago, Diane Larsen, the “Cruise Lady” — for whom I accompany at least one international tour every year — told me a wonderful story with a Las Vegas connection.  It regards an opportunity that she and her son had to visit with the legendary Muhammad Ali, and will perhaps show him in a very different light than you’ve ever seen him in before:   One of the most memorable experiences of my life was with Muhammad Ali.  The… Read more

February 10, 2019

    John 3:22   We have a really short reading today.  Just a single verse.  Which I’ll give here, in its entirety:   “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judæa; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.”   Jesus and his disciples don’t seem to be in Jerusalem, because their being in the holy city would have been mentioned as significant.  For the same reason, it’s reasonable to conclude that they’re not in… Read more

February 9, 2019

    This column appeared in the Deseret News on 15 November 2014:   Jesus, of course, was born and raised in Palestine. Like his apostles and earliest disciples, he was a Middle Eastern Jew. Christianity emerged from a Hebrew matrix, drawing on stories of prophets and patriarchs firmly set in the Middle East. All Christians know this, as does anybody even slightly acquainted with the Christian story. Yet we sometimes fail to understand the historical implications of Christianity’s Middle… Read more

February 9, 2019

    For specific reasons, I’m reposting this blog entry, which first appeared here on 11 October 2018:   There were times, particularly in my early graduate school days, when I thought that my having come from a completely non-academic family had worked against me.   I have friends and colleagues, themselves with strong Ph.D.s from prestigious schools, who have fathers and grandfathers and multiple siblings with professional and academic doctorates — in at least a couple of cases, with… Read more

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