Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Easier Shall be Made Harder and the Harder Shall be Made Easier

Review of James E. Faulconer, The New Testament Made Harder: Scripture Study Questions. Provo, Utah: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2015.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Scholarship of Hugh Nibley and John Sorenson: The Myth of Non-Respectability

It is not uncommon to hear people say that Hugh Nibley and John Sorenson were not real, respectable scholars. That, supposedly, no one outside of Mormons have even heard of them or read their scholarship. It is certainly true neither one looms as largely in broader academia as they do in Mormon intellectual circles. Neither of them is like a Richard Bushman in their respective fields. But it is an exaggeration to say that they were irrelevant and unrespectable in their disciplines. A brief gander at the non-Mormon who’s who of contributors to the 2-volume festschrift for Hugh Nibley, and magnanimous praise they heap upon him, ought to be more than enough to dispel such myths. Sorenson’s festschrift also has non-LDS contributors, and the leading Mayanist of his generation—Michael Coe—refused to engage him at conferences because he was “too formidable.” Coe has also heaped praise on Sorenson in—of all places—a Mormon Stories interview, where he says that Sorenson is a friend, and declares him the leading researcher on paradigm shifting research on pre-Columbian transoceanic contact, which Coe admits he finds persuasive.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

“The Things Which my Father Saw”: The Chiastic Inclusio of 1 Nephi 11–14

A less common image of the tree of life that I thought was really cool looking.
When recording his sweeping vision found in 1 Nephi 11–14, Nephi appears to have framed it with an inclusio. According to Wikipidia, “In biblical studies, inclusio is a literary device based on a concentric principle, also known as bracketing or an envelope structure, which consists of creating a frame by placing similar material at the beginning and end of a section.” Wikipidia goes on to explain:

Friday, May 1, 2015

Does the Historicity of the Book of Mormon Matter?

The “historicity wars” of the bloggernacle have died down, and I am reticent to start them back up again. Since I am generally ignored by the bloggernacle, however, that is unlikely to happen. I have long pondered over the relevance of historicity for the Book of Mormon—if it matters, and if so, why it matters. As I have been reading about the experiences of Joseph Smith and others with the plates and other artifacts in the newly released From Darkness unto Light: The Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon, by Michael Hubbard MacKay and Gerrit Dirkmaat, I have once again begun to ponder the question of historicity.