Sunday, July 7, 2019

Apostolic Reach

From this month's Ensign:
Elder Quentin L. Cook explained that over a four-year period, every single stake and ward, district and branch, in the Church has a member of the Twelve coming and meeting with its leaders—and training them on prophetic priorities.
“As we go different places, we feel the goodness of the members,” said Elder Gerrit W. Gong. “We hear the experiences and we learn things that help us to understand as we counsel together as a quorum about what is happening in the different parts of the world and in different groups within the Church.”
Six years ago, I argued that
A stake president, therefore, is better informed about what is going on in the Church than a typical scholar of Mormonism, albeit often for a more restricted geographical area.
while someone who does Mormon Studies may be an expert in his or her particular niche, he or she will be in less of a position to say what is generally happening Church-wide than a typical General Authority.
From what is reported in the Ensign, the apostles are far more in touch with what is going on in the Church than I had even argued. I have always been impressed with how in touch the apostles are with what is going on in the Church. I am now even more so.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

New Testament History, Culture, and Society

For those looking for background information about the New Testament, I thought I would post notice of a new book:

The book is organized thematically by topic. It is not a scriptural commentary, but rather a series of essays that might be helpful to those who wish further information about a particular topic.

There are sections on
  • the Jewish background of the New Testament, 
  • the Greco-Roman background, 
  • Jesus, 
  • Paul, 
  • New Testament issues, 
  • the text of the New Testament, 
  • and the time immediately after the New Testament. 
Within those sections, essays focus on a particular topic. An index and a citation index round off the volume.

Contributors include:
  • Grant Adamson
  • Terry B. Ball
  • Daniel Becerra
  • Daniel L. Belnap
  • Lincoln H. Blumell 
  • Matthew L. Bowen
  • David M. Calabro
  • Jason R. Combs
  • Luke Drake
  • Mark D. Ellison
  • Alan Taylor Farnes
  • Nicholas J. Frederick
  • John Gee
  • Bryce Gessell
  • Tyler J. Griffin 
  • Trevan G. Hatch
  • Eric D. Huntsman
  • Kent P. Jackson
  • Frank F. Judd Jr. 
  • Seth S. Larsen
  • Jared W. Ludlow
  • Jan J. Martin
  • Joshua M. Matson 
  • Daniel O. McClellan
  • Robert L. Millet 
  • George A. Pierce
  • Dana M. Pike 
  • Noel B. Reynolds
  • David Rolph Seely
  • Avram R. Shannon 
  • Andrew C. Skinner 
  • Andrew C. Smith
  • Julie M. Smith 
  • Kristin H. South
  • Gaye Strathearn
  • Catherine Gines Taylor
  • Michael R. Trotter
  • Thomas A. Wayment
  • John W. Welch
  • Anita Cramer Wells
  • Eric Odin Yingling

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Proto-Sinaitic Again

It has been a couple of years since this topic came up (previous posts here and here), If anyone still actually cares about Douglas Petrovich's speculations on Proto-Sinaitic, David Falk has a rather devastating review in the Review of Biblical Literature.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Oldest Text of the Odessey?

News reports (here, and here) report the discovery of a third century A.D. clay tablet with lines from Homer's Odessey found near the temple of Zeus at Olympia. Some of the reports claim that this is the oldest copy of the Odessey ever found. The claim, however, is missing two words: in Greece. Some of the news reports included the two words, others did not. The two words are significant. Back in 1988 (thirty years ago) Orsolina Montevecchi listed 93 copies of the Odessey that are older (some five-hundred years older). Those copies, however, were found in Egypt.

It is also worth noting that the date of the new manuscript from Greece is about a millennium after the typical date for Homer. This serves as a reminder that there is often a large gap between when a literary text is written and the date of the earliest manuscript.

So cheers to the archaeologists and the Greeks for this new discovery. And a groan for the careless editor who left out two important words. Small details can make big differences.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Thoughts from Relatives

The following thought was written by my ninth cousin twice removed when he visited Heidelberg:
I went often to look at the collection of curiosities in Heidelberg Castle, and one day I surprised the keeper of it with my German. I spoke entirely in that language. He was greatly interested; and after I had talked a while he said my German was very rare, possibly a "unique"; and wanted to add it to his museum.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

In Case You Were Wondering

In the announcement in the Deseret News for the new volume of the Joseph Smith Papers, there are a number of nice pictures. The first one is a picture of a papyrus, one I have looked at a number of time. It is P. Joseph Smith XI. Unfortunately, the papyrus is shown upside down. Oops.