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Valentinus

Seminary

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Seminary in the LDS church is limited. The scope of theological teaching and learning is lacking as it doesn't establish theological origin but only asserts theological belief based on limited text and ecclesiastical commentary.

To it's credit, the LDS church is a more contemporary American religion as opposed to an ANE or first century Palestinian religion. Unfortunately, there is no nuance along the lines of Jacob Neusner, Amy-Jill Levine, Bruce Metzger and Allister McGrath to be found in LDS seminary (with very few exceptions). 

Thankfully, institute hasn't suffered the same fate despite the changes to their programs a few years ago.

My intent isn't to be negatively critical of the current CES programs but CES does leave much to be desired.

Can CES safely implement biblical scholarship, ancient teaching and history to better the knowledge of students without the unnecessary sentimentality of devotion and nauseating pregnant pauses?

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The most that can be said is that the level of individual scholarship covers the entire gamut - there is no real, minimum standard. There are exceptional scholars and others much less so. We do not have a formal, educated priesthood. The objectives of the priesthood in the LDS movement are different than those found in Traditional Orthodox churches of today. 

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What about more in-depth hermeneutics?

Also, it seems a bad idea to teach scripture without at least a working knowledge of ancient languages. An example of poor proof texting is using Ezekiel 37 and the sticks of Judah and Joseph and the Hebrew words for sticks and scrolls.

Teaching context must also be at the forefront of teaching scripture.

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45 minutes ago, Valentinus said:

Can CES safely implement biblical scholarship, ancient teaching and history to better the knowledge of students without the unnecessary sentimentality of devotion and nauseating pregnant pauses?

They could but they will not. I assume by unnecessary sentimentality you are referring to seeking revelation and spiritual confirmation?

3 minutes ago, Valentinus said:

What about more in-depth hermeneutics?

Also, it seems a bad idea to teach scripture without at least a working knowledge of ancient languages. An example of poor proof texting is using Ezekiel 37 and the sticks of Judah and Joseph and the Hebrew words for sticks and scrolls.

Teaching context must also be at the forefront of teaching scripture.

You are asking why we do not teach Ancient Greek and Hebrew to High School students at 6 AM?

And no, teaching the path to divine knowledge via revelation must be at the forefront of teaching scripture. Context is occasionally useful but the ministration of the Holy Ghost is more valuable then the reasonings of mortals on why X wrote Y.

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51 minutes ago, Valentinus said:

Seminary in the LDS church is limited. The scope of theological teaching and learning is lacking as it doesn't establish theological origin but only asserts theological belief based on limited text and ecclesiastical commentary.

To it's credit, the LDS church is a more contemporary American religion as opposed to an ANE or first century Palestinian religion. Unfortunately, there is no nuance along the lines of Jacob Neusner, Amy-Jill Levine, Bruce Metzger and Allister McGrath to be found in LDS seminary (with very few exceptions). 

Thankfully, institute hasn't suffered the same fate despite the changes to their programs a few years ago.

My intent isn't to be negatively critical of the current CES programs but CES does leave much to be desired.

Can CES safely implement biblical scholarship, ancient teaching and history to better the knowledge of students without the unnecessary sentimentality of devotion and nauseating pregnant pauses?

They really just need the right leadership.  Some of the biblical scholarship coming out of BYU recently is excellent, see Thomas Wayment and Julie Smith as great examples.  

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

They could but they will not. I assume by unnecessary sentimentality you are referring to seeking revelation and spiritual confirmation?

You are asking why we do not teach Ancient Greek and Hebrew to High School students at 6 AM?

And no, teaching the path to divine knowledge via revelation must be at the forefront of teaching scripture. Context is occasionally useful but the ministration of the Holy Ghost is more valuable then the reasonings of mortals on why X wrote Y.

No. That is not what I mean by unnecessary sentimentality. 

Language provides a better understanding of scripture. A mere English rendering does not do adequate justice to the understanding and interpretation of scripture.

Without understanding where, why and how scriptural teaching manifests...revelation is meaningless. From a theological perspective,  scripture is written, declared revelation. The Holy Spirit enlightened X to write Y in the first place.

Teach scripture on their own terms.

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

They really just need the right leadership.  Some of the biblical scholarship coming out of BYU recently is excellent, see Thomas Wayment and Julie Smith as great examples.  

The Wayment NT is a blessing for the LDS membership and is by far a more useful text.

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45 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I disagree completely that revelation can ever be meaningless or that language supersedes it. The purpose of scripture is to serve as a conduit for revelation. That revelation is not limited to the original intent of the writer. The Holy Ghost uses the scriptures to teach us what we need to know whether Paul or Mormon or whoever thought of that when they wrote it. 

If an in-depth understanding of the original languages were vital we would have to have kept the gold plates so we could understand the Book of Mormon and teach Greek and Hebrew to every member so they could use the Bible at all and those members born without the talents or mental capacity to learn languages would be denied the scriptures entirely.

Historical learning has some value and I used to roll my eyes when members ignorant of context shared what the Spirit taught them. Now I listen to see if the Spirit confirms that teaching to me instead. Hence the warning about the learned imagining that makes them wise.

It's not that language supersedes it. However, to better understand the scriptures themselves and on their own terms the source language is extremely useful. It is not useful to project a foreign religion on to the text and declare it revelation. Ezekiel is a good example. 

I'm not saying that not using a suitable text such as the ESV or RSV (or whatever translation you prefer EXCEPT for The Message and maybe the NLT) renders the text useless. However, they do no justice to the full magnitude and richness of the already inspired text.

Historical education means a great deal. Daniel McClellan and Mark S. Smith are great examples of the importance of history and language concerning sacred text and human experience with not just their faith but with the Divine.

Wayman Mitchell, founder of the Potter's House in Arizona, protested against not just established theology and hermeneutics but against biblical and historical scholarship. He claimed that all one needs is the text in a language a person can understand and the Holy Spirit to receive personal revelation. Such a method is careless and reckless. 

Of course there is value in personal enlightenment received from the scriptures. Finding life and spiritual application is beautiful. Also, the great thing about prophets is that they don't reinterpret scripture from the original intent and meaning and then call it revelation. Judaism stands on it's own. Christianity is not a revelatory reimagining or revolutionizing of the Jewish faith.

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6 hours ago, Valentinus said:

Seminary in the LDS church is limited. The scope of theological teaching and learning is lacking as it doesn't establish theological origin but only asserts theological belief based on limited text and ecclesiastical commentary.

To it's credit, the LDS church is a more contemporary American religion as opposed to an ANE or first century Palestinian religion. Unfortunately, there is no nuance along the lines of Jacob Neusner, Amy-Jill Levine, Bruce Metzger and Allister McGrath to be found in LDS seminary (with very few exceptions). 

Thankfully, institute hasn't suffered the same fate despite the changes to their programs a few years ago.

My intent isn't to be negatively critical of the current CES programs but CES does leave much to be desired.

Can CES safely implement biblical scholarship, ancient teaching and history to better the knowledge of students without the unnecessary sentimentality of devotion and nauseating pregnant pauses?

LDS Seminary is for high school age students, and has nothing to do with learning to read Scripture in Hebrew and Greek.  It does not seek to teach theology, philosophy, ancient history, logic, or archeology.  CES teachers in LDS Institutes do not normally have advanced degrees in those subjects and are not at all conversant with real scholarship. Those who do have such degrees are not always highly valued.

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1 hour ago, Valentinus said:

......................... the great thing about prophets is that they don't reinterpret scripture from the original intent and meaning and then call it revelation. Judaism stands on it's own. Christianity is not a revelatory reimagining or revolutionizing of the Jewish faith.

Not sure I understand or agree with any of this.

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Posted (edited)

The four year graduation in seminary, I thought, was to enable missionaries to preach in other countries that have that stipulation. I don't think the church cares that the seminary students have the whole shebang in theology & language interpretations taught. 

Edited by Tacenda

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9 hours ago, Valentinus said:

It's not that language supersedes it. However, to better understand the scriptures themselves and on their own terms the source language is extremely useful. It is not useful to project a foreign religion on to the text and declare it revelation. Ezekiel is a good example. 

I'm not saying that not using a suitable text such as the ESV or RSV (or whatever translation you prefer EXCEPT for The Message and maybe the NLT) renders the text useless. However, they do no justice to the full magnitude and richness of the already inspired text.

Historical education means a great deal. Daniel McClellan and Mark S. Smith are great examples of the importance of history and language concerning sacred text and human experience with not just their faith but with the Divine.

Wayman Mitchell, founder of the Potter's House in Arizona, protested against not just established theology and hermeneutics but against biblical and historical scholarship. He claimed that all one needs is the text in a language a person can understand and the Holy Spirit to receive personal revelation. Such a method is careless and reckless. 

Of course there is value in personal enlightenment received from the scriptures. Finding life and spiritual application is beautiful. Also, the great thing about prophets is that they don't reinterpret scripture from the original intent and meaning and then call it revelation. Judaism stands on it's own. Christianity is not a revelatory reimagining or revolutionizing of the Jewish faith.

I disagree.

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8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

LDS Seminary is for high school age students, and has nothing to do with learning to read Scripture in Hebrew and Greek.  It does not seek to teach theology, philosophy, ancient history, logic, or archeology.  CES teachers in LDS Institutes do not normally have advanced degrees in those subjects and are not at all conversant with real scholarship. Those who do have such degrees are not always highly valued.

How is it seminary if theology isn't taught? What exactly does the LDS seminary seek to do? Is it just for years of scripture lite and devotionals? Again, there's nothing wrong with that but is it really seminary?

Ok. Instead of erasing or later editing my paragraph above, I'm going to let it be evidence that I stand corrected based on part one of the definition of seminary.

From Merriam Webster:

Definition of seminary

1: an environment in which something originates and from which it is propagateda seminary of vice and crime

2a: an institution of secondary or higher education

b: an institution for the training of candidates for the priesthood, ministry, or rabbinate

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5 minutes ago, Valentinus said:

What exactly does the LDS seminary seek to do?

"Ultimately, the purpose of seminary is to help students understand and rely upon the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven "

https://www.lds.org/si/seminary/about/purpose-of-seminary?lang=eng

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4 minutes ago, Valentinus said:

..................................

Definition of seminary

........................b: an institution for the training of candidates for the priesthood, ministry, or rabbinate

That is the common definition which most people think of first  That does not preclude other definitions..

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1 minute ago, ksfisher said:

"Ultimately, the purpose of seminary is to help students understand and rely upon the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven "

https://www.lds.org/si/seminary/about/purpose-of-seminary?lang=eng

Those are all good and worthwhile purposes.  A kind of glorified, daily Sunday School.

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8 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

"Ultimately, the purpose of seminary is to help students understand and rely upon the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven "

https://www.lds.org/si/seminary/about/purpose-of-seminary?lang=eng

So doing the very things any normal person faith already does?

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4 minutes ago, Valentinus said:

So doing the very things any normal person faith already does?

What do normal people of faith already do?

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14 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

That is the common definition which most people think of first  That does not preclude other definitions..

Right. Which is why I wanted to explicitly show where I stand corrected. The first part of the definition helps to make sense of where @The Nehor is coming from. Sorry, Nehor.

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6 minutes ago, Valentinus said:

So doing the very things any normal person faith already does?

I understand where you're coming from. You'd think if someone went to seminary or a seminary, they would be taught many aspects of higher learning and more in the know than most. 

sem·i·nar·y
/ˈseməˌnerē/
noun
 
  1. a college that prepares students to be priests, ministers, or rabbis.
    synonyms: theological college, rabbinical college, Talmudical college, academy, training college, training institute, school, high school, conservatory
    "he went to a seminary to study for the priesthood"

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1 minute ago, ksfisher said:

What do normal people of faith already do?

You're right. No Christian in any denomination is the same and do not approach those goals, if they do at all, the same way. There is no perfect or best general idea of how to reach those goals. Normal is poor word choice.

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6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

You'd think if someone went to seminary or a seminary, they would be taught many aspects of higher learning and more in the know than most. 

Students who attend seminary are taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, which would seem to be the ultimate example of higher learning.  As most in the world are not taught the gospel it would seem that, with a little effort they on their part, they do end up "more in the know than most."

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

The four year graduation in seminary, I thought, was to enable missionaries to preach in other countries that have that stipulation. I don't think the church cares that the seminary students have the whole shebang in theology & language interpretations taught. 

A seminary certificate of completion to me was that I just pleased my parents...and was on line for my peers to remain my peers.  I had no idea that it would mean anything for missions or stuff.  In hindsight...for all I have learned the past 20 years...it was a lie and a total waste of my time.

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48 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

Students who attend seminary are taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, which would seem to be the ultimate example of higher learning.  As most in the world are not taught the gospel it would seem that, with a little effort they on their part, they do end up "more in the know than most."

I was thinking as far as Biblical languages, or the theological things in it etc. I think it would help immensely for those that preach to the Christians that believe the Bible is the word of God. 

Here is a site that mentions that seminary might not teach what you learn out there in the field. So you're right I think they do know more than most, and even learn a ton out in the field. I've always been quite impressed with the way the missionaries speak and testify so eloquently. 

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/publication/15-things-seminary-couldnt-teach/

And I'm no authority since I only took a couple years of seminary. 

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