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Showing posts from February, 2014

Some Notes on Using Personal Names to Test a Text

Last spring, Interpreter published a short paper by Dr. Stephen D. Ricks on a few names found in the Book of Mormon.[1] A second such paper by Dr. Ricks was also published just last month.[2] In the first paper, Ricks quotes Nibley, who quotes William F. Albright, about how the story of Sinuhe seems historically plausible on the grounds that, among other things, “the Amorite personal names contained in the story are satisfactory for that period and region.”[3] Certain Internet denizens were quick to fault Ricks for drawing on Albright methodologically. They used a Google search to find a few quotes from William G. Dever criticizing Albright’s methods. Hence they made the hasty generalization that Mormon scholars are “always” drawing on out-dated methods (evidently not aware that some Mormon scholars have actually drawn on Dever himself for methodology).

On the Credibility of Mormon Scholars

It is something you hear all the time—“Mormon scholars have no credibility among mainstream scholars!” I’ve addressed this silly notion here on this blog before. In a recent edition of “Ask a Scholar,” on the Maxwell Institute blog, John L. Sorenson was specifically asked about how non-Mormons view his work. His response is rather interesting:

Moorman on Mormons: A Review of Camp Floyd and the Mormons

Review of: Donald R. Moorman (with Gene Sessions), Camp Floyd and the Mormons: The Utah War (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1992, 2005).
Note: The Following was written for my Utah History class. Given its relevance to Mormon History, I thought I would post it here. The Bold, run-on sentence stating the authors thesis and the repetitive opening statement for each paragraph were requirements for the paper. You know I do not normally write that poorly. I would just like to add to this that due to the way I had to write the paper, I do not think you can get a sense of just how much I enjoyed this book. It was excellent reading on an interesting topic. Whatever else might be said of Donald R. Moorman (d. 1980), he was a great writer. This was one of the most well-written history books I have ever read.
The author’s thesis is that the Utah War dramatically impacted life in Utah, having an effect on Mormon relations with non-Mormons and Indians in the territory, Mormon relations wi…


This issue has some classic moments in it, but for the most part is not “must read” material. The rather long, but quite enjoyable, review essay at the beginning is Daniel C. Peterson at his best. He seems to rarely write this way anymore, which I think is unfortunate. Reviews by several others are worth taking a look at, as recommended below, but this, like other issues, has its share of what I’ve been calling “fluff.” About 7 (out of 19) reviews dealt substantively with critical arguments (~37%). It seems, then, that from Volumes 3–5, the Review hovered just under 1/3 of all reviews/essays being directed at the critics of the Church.

Of note is that two of the reviews recommended here are critical of pro-LDS work, including one that offers some criticisms of one of FARMS own publications. I point this out because it has been insinuated fairly recently that the old apologetics (“classic-FARMS” as it is often called) never allowed for scrutiny and revision of apologetic positi…