Challenge Refused

Challenge Refused April 15, 2015

Twelve days ago I issued a challenge to critics of John Gee‘s review of Paul Owen’s recent article on the Book of Mormon.  At that time I asked:

Is there anyone besides Paul Owen—Mormon, non-Mormon, or anti-Mormon—who accepts Owen’s theory and explanation for the origin of the Book of Mormon?

So far no one has responded to the challenge.  Of course I don’t read everything written on the Mormon Blogosphere (God help me!), so there may be someone out that that believes Owen’s theory is the best explanation, or at least a crucial component of an explanation for the origin of the Book of Mormon.  If anyone has seen someone who agrees with Owen, please let me know, and I’ll post a link here.

Here are Paul Owen’s defenses of his article.

In the meantime, I think it is safe to assume that Owen’s theory is essentially idiosyncratic.  He alone believes his overall theory.  No one else agrees with him.  In other words, whatever the merits of the specific criticisms made by Gee, and even if some of what Owen says is accurate, Owen’s overall theory is rejected by everyone.

The closest I’ve seen to someone supporting Owen’s theory is a fellow calling himself Yakov ben Tov (Jacob, the Son of “the Good”) from the anonymous crowd of bloggers over at the ironically named “Faith Promoting Rumor.” He has come to Owen’s defense, but to a very limited degree (Part 1; Part 2).

It is crucial to note that even “Yakov” does not agree with Owen’s overall argument in the last half of his paper.”  The best he can muster is saying that it is a “fascinating article that takes the BM very seriously.”  (Note to world: taking the Book of Mormon “seriously” is a minimum requirement for scholarship on the subject, not a sufficient merit for publication.)  While we can debate whether Owen’s study is “fascinating”or not; it must not be forgotten that an article can be “fascinating” and still be dead wrong.  And “fascinating” is generally considered an insufficient grounds for publication in a serious academic journal.

And a fundamental question remains:  Should the Maxwell Institute (and by extension BYU and the Church) publish articles (by Mormons, non-Mormon or anti-Mormons) that explicitly or implicitly reject fundamental truth claims of the Church?


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