With the alignment of Seminary to the Come Follow Me schedule, this year’s high school seniors will graduate with D&C twice, but no Old Testament.
Continue reading “Recorded Devotional for Seminary Seniors who Didn’t Get the Old Testament”
A new interview, me talking with Cwic Media for 80 minutes on, well, the usual topics 🙂 Continue reading “Video Interview on Genesis and Interpreting Scripture Literally”
Melvin Cook, famous chemist and ardent LDS young-earth creationist, thought scripture should be interpreted literally.
My analysis is intended to be strictly literalistic; in my view, intellectual honesty requires literalism in the interpretation of the scriptures.
President Joseph Fielding Smith also made repeated statements about the necessity of reading scripture literally.
I agree with them. But I’ll go one better and do something they never did: I’m going to define the term “literal.” Continue reading “Literal Interpretation of the Scriptures: Why We Need MORE”
Communication involves not just words, but the context, culture, and worldview in which they are embedded. Simple translation of words alone, reading words alone, however “clear,” will fail to communicate the entire message, because this kind of information is tacit and unstated. Sometimes we can tell we’re missing an intangible something, but most often we can’t even tell that, illustrated extensively in Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes.
Here are some modern examples. Continue reading “Translation and Context: Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra, Isaiah and Job at Ugarit”
(Originally published in 2010 elsewhere) Most people know the genre of “parable” because they’re in the Gospels, but “myth” is poorly understood and the term carries a lot of negative baggage. Like “literal” you have to be very careful throwing around the term without defining it. One simple definition of myth is that myth is worldview in narrative form. That is, it’s a way of explaining one’s conception of how the world works in everyday language or story form. Continue reading “Science and History as Myth and Fiction: Exploring Some Common Labels”
Elder Bednar in General Conference talked about the spread of temples throughout the world, as well as doubling the number of available languages of the presentation of temple ordinances. This got me thinking again about something I think about from time to time: the state of our collective temple knowledge and how it affects our temple experience.
Since I have a lot of links below, let me summarize with these three bullet points. Continue reading “Revisiting Temple Preparation”
Robert Alter is an emeritus professor of Hebrew, Literature, and Jewish Studies at UC-Berkeley. He recently completed his entire translation and commentary on the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament, in traditional Christian terms). It’s a lovely 3-volume hardcover set retailing for $125. However, [ad link] Amazon frequently sells it for about $65, sometimes with a checkbox coupon for another $20 off. That’s is a screaming deal on the magnum opus of a wonderful scholar, Continue reading “Robert Alter, at BYU and Amazon”
Red brick store in Nauvoo, where the first endowments were done on May 4, 1842.
However the divine inspiration or divine origin of the Torah might have worked, it apparently did not involve starting with an absolutely clean slate.– James Kugel
Continue reading “Revelation, Adaptation, and the Temple: “Everything is a Remix””
If you follow me, you know I talk a lot about the importance of recognizing genre in scripture: podcast here, Sperry symposium here, posts here, here, etc.
Evolution is also a topic I address with some frequency, such as here (a BYU guest lecture) and here (in context of “what prophets know”).
I also talk a lot about Genesis, how and why it’s historically been misread (e.g. my presentation here and accompanying post here), as well as the parallels in Moses and Abraham (see here for my FAIR talk transcript, and here for a fireside video.)
And I’m writing a book on Genesis 1 where I tie a lot of this stuff together… but I’ve left a lot of hardest writing for last, including my chapter on the temple. So, let’s talk. Continue reading “Genre… and the Temple”
Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge; Screencap from the Muppet Christmas Carol
We’re in a new ward, and with the new meeting changes,
talks sermons are assigned 6-8 minutes length. I was in the anchor spot, and so prepared to stretch or compress my remarks. I tend to prepare an outline (so there’s plenty of ad-libbing), with my stories, scriptures, or anything I want to read printed in full, so there’s no fumbling between papers or flipping through scriptures looking for the right page. One other speaker and I were on the stand early, the other came in about 10 minutes after Sacrament began. I spent those ten minutes reorganizing an expansion out to about 20 minutes, then had to contract when said speaker appeared. Here’s my written adaptation of remarks I made after I introduced us to the ward. Continue reading “A Sacrament Meeting Sermon on Forgiveness”