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  1. Mormons Talk

    Deleted

    Sorry! You are right, this is redundant. How do I delete this thread? If a mod wants to do it, that'd be great.
  2. Mormons Talk

    Deleted

    Deleted. Duplicate of another post.
  3. A few years ago, William Hamblin wrote one of his final blog posts at Patheos about the absence (or demise?) of ancient BOM studies at BYU. Yet it seems to me that such a curriculum could be created outside of the confines of BYU, if sufficient desire existed in the ancient BOM studies community. Consider the following as an example of what might be done: an independent online "Academy" with recorded courses, readings, assignments, etc. Yes, it's not the same as a university, but its certainly better than nothing! The following catholic resource was my inspiration for this idea: https://catholicstudiesacademy.com So what courses would an ancient BOM studies curriculum have? What materials? Which professors? Share your thoughts!
  4. Mormons Talk

    Free Harvard Courses on Religion

    This looks like a great collection of resources, Nevo! Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
  5. Mormons Talk

    Free Harvard Courses on Religion

    Let's put it together! I'm only half joking. Why should we expect universities with little connection to Mormonism to put together an academic introduction to Mormonism, when we Mormons haven't done it ourselves? Perhaps the big names of academic Mormonism could indeed put something together and show what a university course on Mormonism might look like. Another perspective on your question: We're not nearly as large or historically important as most of the other religions mentioned above (although you might argue we're about the same size as Sikhism, so why not...)
  6. Sit down and stay calm. A free course on Judaism from Harvard will soon begin. Christianity and other religions to follow. https://online-learning.harvard.edu/course/judaism-through-its-scriptures?category[]=12 Incidentally, there are also fabulous courses on the Bible from Yale and Harvard at the following: http://courses.biblicalarchaeology.org/hebrewbible/ https://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-145 https://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-152 What are some high quality, online, and inexpensive resources that you've found to deepen your study of religion and scripture?
  7. For those of you interested in a deeper, more academic look at the Bible, you might enjoy the following facebook group, where we discuss college-level books on the Bible from multiple denominational perspectives: "Mormons Talk | OT Bible Scholarship (Old Testament / LDS / Mormon)" https://www.facebook.com/groups/1706281003000677/
  8. Mormons Talk

    Sheol and the underworld

    I highly recommend buying a multi-volume Bible Dictionary--particularly in electronic format such as you find on Logos or Olive Tree--if you're interested in these sorts of questions (e.g., the Anchor Bible Dictionary, the New Interpreter's, the Dictionary of the Old Testament, etc.). Here's an entry from the New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible: "Sheol sheeˊohl [שְׁאוֹלsheʾol, שְׁאֹל sheʾol; ᾅδης hadēs]. The underworld according to Israelite religion was named sheʾol. This term occurs sixty-six times (e.g., Gen 37:35; Num 16:30; Deut 32:22; 1 Sam 2:6; Job 7:9; Ps 6:5; Isa 5:14). Much ANE literature was concerned with the dead and their abode, as reflected, for instance, in the Egyptian Book of the Dead (among many other texts), and in Mesopotamia in the Gilgamesh epic, The Descent of Ishtar, and Nergal and Ereshkigal. The OT, by contrast, shows little interest in the underworld abode of the dead, with infrequent mention and minimal description. This suggests that it did not fascinate or intrigue the biblical writers as it did others, though it remains debated how authentically this lack of reference reflects Israelite religion." "Death is a frequent OT theme, with the root mwth (מות; muth [מוּת], “die”; maweth [מָוֵת], “dead, death”) occurring 1,000 times. However, while precision is difficult, there are only some 100 references to the underworld, a strikingly small number. Underworld references occur mostly in psalmodic, reflective, or prophetic literature. Thus it is a concept that involves some emotional engagement. There is minimal description of underworld conditions, though occasional glimpses suggest flaccid, somnolent existence (Isa 14:9-10) or a vast, subdivided burial chamber (Ezek 32:21-28). The underworld is sometimes mentioned as a cosmological extremity, in contrast to the heavens above, but mostly to indicate a human destiny that the wicked merit and the righteous seek to avoid. Since no alternative destiny is proposed, except tentatively in a few psalmic and proverbial expressions of hope." "The underworld’s inhabitants are sometimes called shades (refaʾim רְפָאִים). This term also occurs of a reputed ancient people (Deut 2:11), of Philistine giants (1 Chr 20:4), and of a valley near Jerusalem (Josh 15:8). The similar Ugaritic term rpum also apparently indicates both the living and the dead. The parallel is intriguing, but the complex relationship between the two meanings remains unclear. Further, the dead Israelite REPHAIM are never thought to interact with the living, unlike their Ugaritic counterparts. The dead are also twice called ʾelohim (אֱלֹהִים), “gods” (1 Sam 28:13; Isa 8:19), though in contexts of illicit consultation. The general paucity of such references shows official disapproval and/or disinterest." "The LXX normally translated sheʾol as hadēs. The concept of compartmentalization within Hades was developed (notably 1 En. 22), with the wicked consigned to GEHENNA. The term hadēs occurs in the NT with various connotations: as a place where the unrepentant will go at the judgment (Matt 11:23; Luke 10:15), as an opposing force to heaven (Matt 16:18), as a place of torment (Luke 16:23), and as a metaphor for death (Rev 1:18; 6:8). See ANCESTOR WORSHIP; DEAD, ABODE OF THE; DEATH, NT; DEATH, OT; NECROMANCY."
  9. Thanks, Nevo & Kevin! Those are great suggestions.
  10. I've recently been reading Kugel's "How to Read the Bible" - something I find just stunning, amazing, breathtaking, and so forth. Besides covering many fascinating topics, it's very well written. Unfortunately, it took me nearly half of a lifetime to discover it! How did I get halfway through life without someone sitting me down and saying, "YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK" !? I can't let more decades of my life pass by in similar ignorance. Can you biblical studies aficionados recommend other fabulous books--accessible to a popular audience--for me and the group?
  11. Mormons Talk

    Diversity in the Quorum! Elders Soares and Gong

    What a historic day for the Church! With the calling of the two new apostles, senior church leadership is the most diverse it's ever been - it includes a German, an Asian-American, a Brazilian, and a Nazarene (my perennial favorite). I've updated my personal edition of the Church's organization chart accordingly (below).
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