BYU Studies, Evolution, and Faith: Some Clarification (Updated!)

We recently put forth an open call for abstracts for a special issue of BYU Studies dedicated to biological evolution, LDS faith, and practice. I am the guest editor overseeing the non-scientific submissions and as such, would like to emphasize a few things from the call that seem to be getting overlooked. Update: Please note, we have extended the abstract submission deadline from February 1 to March 1Continue reading “BYU Studies, Evolution, and Faith: Some Clarification (Updated!)”

Mormon History Association Conference 2020: Scripture, Science, Interpretation, and Fundamentalism

Notices are going out for the MHA Conference this year, to be held in Rochester NY, June 4-7. The schedule is not up yet, but a panel I organized has been accepted, entitled “Developing LDS Exegesis, Hermeneutics, and Epistemology from 1876-1980: Trends and Influences.” Continue reading “Mormon History Association Conference 2020: Scripture, Science, Interpretation, and Fundamentalism”

Speaking Announcements: Harry Potter and Faith, Complexity in Church, Plus a MHA Preview

First, Nov 9 at the LDS Institute in Mesa, I’ll be speaking and participating in a panel. I’ve titled my remarks something like Harry Potter’s Faith Crisis and Our Own: The Only Way Out is Through. (The latter phrase is something I’ve heard Elder Holland cite in “For Times of Trouble” and “However Long and Hard the Road,” both excellent)

This event is sponsored by a large Facebook group called Uplift, some fliers and more info below. Continue reading “Speaking Announcements: Harry Potter and Faith, Complexity in Church, Plus a MHA Preview”

On Hiatus until June

“I confess that I am constantly appalled by the scarcity of my knowledge, and the one resentment I think I carry concerns the many pressing demands which limit the opportunity for reading.” President Gordon B. Hinckley, in The Voice of My Servants (BYU Religious Studies Center, 2010): 61.

I have the opposite problem; right now I am doing nothing but reading. Due to time and stress related to preparing for my qualifying exams and dissertation proposal, I will not be posting anything new or updating my Gospel Doctrine posts until June. If you’re looking for them, you can use the category or date selector at the bottom of the page. I’ve also cut out or blocked myself from virtually all my distractions and other activities. It’s eat, sleep, read, and study, for the next 59 days. Continue reading “On Hiatus until June”

A Short Announcement and a Seattle Fireside on Reclaiming the Literal Interpretation of Genesis

First, I’ve had a lot of Facebook friend requests from readers. I’m taking a break from Facebook to focus on my preparation for my three qualifying exams in spring: American Religious History, Reformation History, and History of Science. However, I will continue posting things to the Benjamin the Scribe Facebook page. I suggest you both Like and Follow that page. (I put a link to it and my GoFundMe  at the end of every post, but apparently, not everyone makes it that far.)

Second and more exciting, Friday Nov. 2 at 7:30, I’ll be speaking at a home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. My topic, “Reclaiming the Literal Interpretation of Genesis: A Short History of How It Went Wrong,” expands on several of my previous papers, presentations, and podcasts (scroll down). Seating is limited, so you must RSVP to this email address. If there are seats remaining, you’ll receive the home address.

See you there.

A Christmas Plug

The Real St. Nicholas

The Real St. Nicholas

One of the best ways for laypeople to learn about the history, text, interpretation, archaeology, and lands of the Bible is through reading Biblical Archaeology Review. In spite of the name, it’s not just about archaeology. It used to have a sister magazine called Bible Review which was more focused on text and interpretation, but they’ve been combined. BAR (the frequent acronym) contains writings by scholars (Jewish, Christian, LDS, nothing particular) written for laypeople, so it’s meant to be accessible and up-to-date.  It also means that you’ll see things that challenge, things written from different worldviews or religious presuppositions, and, often, rejoinders by other scholars who disagree. So you’ll also learn to recognize good scholarship and quality argument.

I’ve pulled out three Christmas-y articles to show the kind of thing they do. First, Hebrew Bible scholar William H.C. Propp writes a tongue-in-cheek piece about relating Christmas and Santa Clause to asherah, the ancient mother goddess/tree/grove that Israel sometimes worshipped. The title riffs off an ancient inscription which some read as “Jahweh and his asherah.”

As it turns out, Propp was also “principal bassoonist of the North Coast Symphony Orchestra of Southern California and conductor of the La Jolla Renaissance Singers.” His musical life (and Jewish upbringing) contributed to another Christmas piece, with some history and critique of Handel’s use and abuse of the Hebrew Bible in writing The Messiah. This is article two.

Article three focuses on the how December 25th came to be celebrated as Christmas.

All three can be downloaded from here. Check out BAR. And if you’re interested in St. Nicholas, read this post.

As always, you can help me pay my tuition here. You can also get updates by email whenever a post goes up (subscription box on the right). If you friend me on Facebook, please drop me a note telling me you’re a reader. I tend not to accept friend requests from people I’m not acquainted with.


Old Testament, the Blog in the Upcoming Year, and News

My image.

My image.

Coming back to the Old Testament means I’ve been at this solo blog thing for a while, and I have a lot of prewritten material to work with. In the next year, I’ll be reposting and updating all of my Old Testament Gospel Doctrine posts, so they should appear as “new” posts in your feed and on the blog. If for some reason you get ahead of my updating/resposting, a google search for Benjamin Scribe Old Testament Lesson X or using the blog index (link at the top of every page) can get you to the old post you’re looking for. I also anticipate writing some new posts. Continue reading “Old Testament, the Blog in the Upcoming Year, and News”

“Reading the Old Testament in Context” Fireside in San Antonio Tx, Nov 11

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 9.55.57 PMMy Oct. 8 fireside in Claremont will be repeated in San Antonio, Tx on Saturday November 11 at 6pm, in the chapel at 6240 UTSA Blvd, San Antonio, 78249.  It’s on “Reading the Old Testament in Context” and is a version of my Sperry Symposium presentation which will be in Provo, October 28. The firesides and presentation are an adapted form of the 25-page paper I submitted for Sperry, so the paper has some things the presentations won’t and vice-versa. I’ve decided to take that paper, and will just post it in sections here as blogposts, starting in mid-November.  Continue reading ““Reading the Old Testament in Context” Fireside in San Antonio Tx, Nov 11″