Friday, March 15, 2013

The Greatest Book of Mormon Scholars


The 26th of this month will mark the 183rd anniversary of the publication of the Book of Mormon. Since the Book of Mormon was published in 1830, Latter-day Saints have been producing studies about it. For the first 100-plus years, much of those studies were done by amateurs who lacked any sort of professional training; even for those who did have professional training, many of the scholarly disciplines during that time were too underdeveloped to help lead to any useful, long-standing conclusions. But over the last 70 years or so, Book of Mormon scholarship has been making some huge strides, and there are promising signs for the future of such work.

In celebration of the progress that has been made, I would like to highlight here the Book of Mormon scholars who have been most significant over that time period. This is, of course, a very subjective exercise, and I by no means see myself as creating the definitive list. Others (who may very well be better versed in Book of Mormon scholarship than I am) may disagree with the five I have chosen for the top spots, or feel that some have been snubbed. I would love to hear the opinions of others in terms of who should have been on the list, and who shouldn’t have been on the list, or any different order they should have ranked.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

REVIEWING THE REVIEW: VOL. 1 (1989)


Overview

With recent events being as they are and no sign of the Review returning anytime soon (though Blair Hodges informs me it will be returning), now seemed like a good time to go back to the beginning. I’m talking about Volume 1. It’s 1989 and I’m only two years old. I live in Colorado Springs, CO. Little do I know that over to the west, in Provo, Utah there was a group of Mormon scholars launching an annual book review that would, in all honesty, change my life. And make no mistake about – the work of “classic FARMS” as it is called, and of Dan Peterson specifically, has changed my life. Now, I’ll grant that without it I would probably still be in the Church. I never had a faith crisis, or anything like that, but the reading of FARMS – and other “Mormon Studies” work which I discovered through FARMS, via the book reviews, or checking the footnotes, etc. – has enriched my faith in important ways; has influenced life decisions (including my resent change in major); and otherwise impacted the course of my life. I want it to be clear – at a time when he is constantly being vilified and blamed for “hurting” others, or leading people out of the Church, or whatever – that Daniel C. Peterson has done some good for me. His witty, yet intelligent, writing style has proven to be both enjoyable and enlightening to read.

Friday, March 1, 2013

“Schologetics”: A Response


David Bokovoy, someone who has produced far more scholarship, and participated in more (and better) apologetics, than I have, has recently written a blog post trying to parse between scholarship and apologetics. If I were someone else, I would almost certainly give more weight to Bokovoy than myself. But, alas, I am I, and I have some of my own thoughts which I feel a need to express. Interestingly, the distinction is one that I have had on my mind recently, so Bokovoy’s comments proved timely for me, and responding to him is a good excuse to write out what I have been telling myself I need to write for a week or so now.