Friday, June 27, 2014


I'm at various points in my scripture reading.  Luke with the kids, Numbers 25 in my Hebrew and Greek OT reading, and I'm also rereading the Book of Mormon, in a facsimile of the first printing.  Sometimes, differences between it and the current edition catch my eye.

Like this one.  Without the plain and precious things, the current edition says we are in a state of "blindness," but the 1830 printing says "woundedness."  I kind of like "woundedness."

Thursday, May 29, 2014

All Manner of Sin and Blasphemy

I'm reading the New Testament with the kids, and tonight noticed something striking, which I will offer up without comment.

In Matthew 12, the warning that sins against the Holy Ghost (the "holy spirit" in Greek, and remember that, although "spirit," pneuma, is neuter in Greek, in Hebrew it would be the feminine ruach) will not be forgiven is followed immediately by a reference to the tree with good fruit that elsewhere Matthew identifies as lying behind the strait and narrow gate.

In Mark 3, the parallel passage transitions immediately into the question who is Jesus' mother?

See also 1 Nephi 11.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Gifts of God

Since I'm not teaching Sunday School, I haven't updated this blog recently. I continue to read the MT and the LXX side by side. Today I read Leviticus 21, and was floored. 

Where the MT has "bread of God," the LXX consistently has "gifts of God."  This connects to Matthew 6 and 7 and shows that the bread of God brought out by the Melchizedek priest in Matt 6 was a gift, that is to say, an endowment. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bookshelf: the Divine Woman II

Two more books I came across in reorganizing my shelves that touch on Israel's Divine Woman in different ways:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I Will Write

Exodus 34 shows us something spectacular and unappreciated about the religion of Moses.

First, Moses' ascension to the mountain (he spends 40 days fasting in the presence of the Lord) results in him having the appearance of God.  In his descent, he shines.

Second, in Moses' time on the mountain, he performs the tasks that God performs.  The first time around, God speaks the ten commandments and then He writes them with His own finger.  When He invites Moses up, God says that God will write the commandments again.  Then, in what seems like a craftsman's apprenticeship, Moses remains in the presence of the Lord and writes the commandments himself.

On the mountain, Moses becomes divine.  Does this shed light on Jesus' 40 days fasting in the wilderness?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bookshelf: Deuteronomy

We've talked in class about the theory that Deuteronomy is a document created late in the Monarchy by assembling earlier sources and writing new material in the (fictitious) name of Moses, in order to define and propagandize a revolutionary movement that centralized religious authority and changed the nature of official Israelite religion, writing over the stories of the patriarchs and claiming that the things they did (building their own altars, performing their own sacrifices, worshipping at high places and sacred trees, entering into sacred places, and above all, seeing God) were pagan Canaanite acts.

This theory (in multiple variants) is at the bedrock bottom of modern biblical criticism.  That doesn't mean it's right, but it's also consistent with Nephi's horrible account of the rewriting of the Israelite record (the revisionists remove plain and precious things from the record; the tree that is the city Jerusalem and also the Virgin mother is the most precious thing), so we should take it seriously.

To date, this understanding has had approximately zero impact on Mormon Sunday Schools.  If you want to explore it, your on your own; so here are some books to start with:

Again, there are many more books on this key topic.  These are just the ones I own.  A good introduction to the Old Testament (by "good" I really mean not tied to any church, but especially not Evangelical) will also give you some background.