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"Problematic Apologetics": Bokovoy Reviews Callister's "A Case for the Book of Mormon".

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2 hours ago, Duncan said:

Biblical prophets predicted things that happened in the Bible like the 7 lean years and 7 fat years, the fall of jerusalem and the redemption it, even Jesus told the two disciples on the road "all things concerning himself" and he used Moses and "all the prophets". I think Bokovoy is reading his perspective into it, maybe Elder Callister is as well. 

Perhaps we all read into it what we want to see, that is, after all the nature of scripture. But when it comes to discerning what the original intent was of the passages quoted, I'll take what Dr. Bokovoy says, hands down, over what Elder Callister says.

 

I also like what Albert Switzer had to say about a similar subject. Parenthesis mine.

Quote

Thus each successive epoch of theology found its own thoughts in Jesus; (or any Biblical prophet)that was, indeed, the only way in which it could make Him live. But it was not only each epoch that found it own reflection in Jesus: (or the Biblical prophets) each individual created Him in accordance with is own character. There is no historical task which so revels a man's true self as the writings of a Life of Jesus. 

I don't believe the Biblical prophets had any awareness of the Nephites or were making any predictions about them, and I believe Elder Callister is just trying to project his own views into a Biblical story that knows nothing about Book of Mormon peoples

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1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

Perhaps we all read into it what we want to see, that is, after all the nature of scripture. But when it comes to discerning what the original intent was of the passages quoted, I'll take what Dr. Bokovoy says, hands down, over what Elder Callister says.

 

I also like what Albert Switzer had to say about a similar subject. Parenthesis mine.

I don't believe the Biblical prophets had any awareness of the Nephites or were making any predictions about them, and I believe Elder Callister is just trying to project his own views into a Biblical story that knows nothing about Book of Mormon peoples

trying to get into the minds of people who lived over 2500 years ago is a tough challenge but I applaud those who know for certain what they were thinking 

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"In reality, biblical prophetic texts are not predictions of the LDS movement. The biblical prophets were not fortune-tellers. Instead, they were highly perceptive political and social critics concerned with everyday problems that affected their own time and community. They prophesied to their own people, the king, or even the priestly leaders of the religious cult, declaring that if they acted in ways that negatively affected Israelite and Judean societies terrible things would occur."

Yeah, no. I can see a secular projection of this on scripture, but I think any simpleton's reading of the text will find numerous examples of prophets who actually foretold - they prophesied of future events. This is where the rub is; it sounded like a pretty logical review of Calister's writings and then goes off the deep end and pulls a concept out of thin air. That completely destroys the validity of the criticism.

Why the push for the ignorant conclusion? It makes me think of a story I heard many times growing up, "Satan will tell you 99 truths if he can get you to believe in one lie."  

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I would love to hear someone from FairMormon address this:

 

https://wheatandtares.org/2019/06/13/bad-book-of-mormon-apologetics/

Last year, FairMormon had a big win for their organization when LDS General Authority Kevin Pearson came to speak at their conference and endorsed them. I consider myself an LDS Apologist. I was moved by Elder Pearson’s words at that conference as he encouraged all LDS with the ability to act on their own to publicly defend the Church. I felt a spiritual prompting to do more than I have been in my efforts to provide intellectual answers and paradigms for those in faith crisis.

In his talk, he identified three organizations that the Church in some degree officially endorses. He thanked those organizations and encouraged others to support them and to direct questioners to those resources. FairMormon, the journal Mormon Interpeter, and BOM Central.

 

 

With Elder Pearson’s endorsement comes a level of responsibility. We can’t provide ridiculously bad arguments that critics slice up and mock us for it. We can’t go for the cheap, easy wins that might appeal to a mass, uneducated audience when the people that are actually in faith crisis seeking to know the right answers read both sides and have to admit the critics are right. We can’t come across so bad that we seem dishonest and break trust with honest seekers.

 

 

Tad Callister’s new book A Case for the Book of Mormon is making a splash. Brother Callister is General Authority Emeritus. I don’t want to pick on Brother Callister. He’s not a scholar. He’s writing to a popular audience. He shouldn’t be evaluated the same way as scholars who are at the forefront of these discussions. He’s the grandson of Legrand Richards, author of Marvelous Work and a Wonder. That book, was for my generation something very comparable to Brother Callister’s book on the apostasy and this one on the Book of Mormon for this day. They are works that are quasi-intellectual, inspiring for LDS, good for introducing one generally to some issues that you can follow up through other sources to get more up-to-date scholarship. But they are not aware of current scholarship both pro-LDS and critical, full of prooftexting scripture out of context, using parellelomania concepts, and generally just not good Apologetics.

 

 

Brother Callister seems not aware of Brant Gardner’s work on translation and retaining Hebraisms. He’s not aware of the work of BYU professors Nick Frederick and Thomas Wayment that have identified numerous allusions to the KJV New Testament. He’s unaware of Richard Bushman’s concessions to modern Protestant material in the Book of Mormon. He gives no regard for traditional Biblical scholarship in the way he’s prooftexting Bible verses that he claims reference the Book of Mormon. Most LDS scholars, even those on the conservative side, won’t stand with him on that. He’s not aware of Blake Ostler’s Expansion Model. He’s not aware of Skousen-Carmack’s work acknowledging modern elements that must have come through a loose translation.  He’s using Smoot’s imperative for a historical BOM, but wielding it in an extremely dangerous and hopelessly naive way, claiming none of the book came through the mind of Joseph.

If a regular guy without credentials wrote this book, FairMormon and Book of Mormon Central would ignore it, mock it, or even blast it for being weak on scholarship, similar to how Book of Mormon Central recently blasted the FIRM Foundation Heartlander Group for the same kinds of problems.

 

But for some reason, FairMormon has latched onto this book. Promoting it on their website, doing podcasts and blog interviews, sharing it on Facebook, and also invited Brother Callister to speak at the FairMormon Conference. Last year Elder Pearson spoke at FairMormon and this year Craig Christensen appears to be on the schedule in the role as General Authority speaker. I think that’s great. They’re not scholars, but they come in official capacity from the Church, and it’s great to hear the church’s perspective on the Apologetics landscape. But Callister is not appearing in that context. He is presenting actual apologetic material.

 

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Another point which I didn't bring up in the blog post but plan to in a future post. Among the faithful informed (or Apologists--I want to make sure no one thinks I'm using that as a pejorative), I'm not sure there's a single one of us that haven't blasted church curriculum for the blatant prooftexting. I'm pretty confident in private company, nearly every single one here would have some harsh criticism for those lousy lessons. In that FairMormon interview, Callister basically brags that he's personally responsible for this. I don't expect FairMormon to publicly call out a former general authority and disrespect him for this, but I certainly don't expect them to congratulate him and put him at the head of the table.

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, USU78 said:

I imagine Bokovoy now takes the position that Matthew's work is likewise impossibly tainted by first century CE Christian ignorance.

Here's the difference. I think this is an important distinction. 

Matthew and Abinadi, for example, are reinterpreting or reimagining Isaiah. Repurposing scripture into a higher meaning or a more pressing relevance. They are not doing what Callister is doing, presenting a case like a lawyer, proving something by claiming this is what Isaiah meant originally. 

Or maybe they are. In which case, they are all wrong. But Matthew and Abinadi didn't have the benefit of modern scholarship, so they are more easily forgiven. 

 

Edited by churchistrue
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7 hours ago, churchistrue said:

Here's the difference. I think this is an important distinction. 

Matthew and Abinadi, for example, are reinterpreting or reimagining Isaiah. Repurposing scripture into a higher meaning or a more pressing relevance. They are not doing what Callister is doing, presenting a case like a lawyer, proving something by claiming this is what Isaiah meant originally. 

Or maybe they are. In which case, they are all wrong. But Matthew and Abinadi didn't have the benefit of modern scholarship, so they are more easily forgiven. 

 

Do you somehow imagine that Callister's work is unique or original?

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31 minutes ago, USU78 said:

Do you somehow imagine that Callister's work is unique or original?

No, of course not. Why?

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9 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

No, of course not. Why?

Neither was Matthew.

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14 minutes ago, USU78 said:

Neither was Matthew.

Of course. Prooftexting started as soon as scripture did. I'm acknowledging there is a certain tradition and validity to it. Not sure where you're going with this.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, cinepro said:

GA Tad Callister recently released a book titled "A Case for the Book of Mormon" wherein he tries to make a defensive case for the book.  Part of the book was recently published at LDS Living:

7 Ways the Bible Prophesies of the Book of Mormon

David Bokovoy, a biblical scholar who is familiar to many of us, has taken to his Facebook page to share his thoughts.  I'll post them here for those who are Facebook averse. 

After reading his comments, it occurs to me that LDS leaders might be interpreting certain things in the Bible in way that is biased towards LDS teachings and might not be supported by a more objective reading of the text and context...:ph34r:

I think it is helpful when our scholars and general authorities freely exchange ideas and discuss these matters (whether publicly or privately), and even better when they respectfully allow each other to respectfully correct the other in their respective areas of expertise.

I don't think Church leaders and scholars are the only ones affected by bias, which I think has more to bear on authentic scholarship than on authentic testimony, which all saints strive for. Discipline in scholarly matters promotes objectivity, and discipline in spiritual matters promotes subjectivity, and it takes a good deal of divine grace in my opinion to integrate both.

 

Edited by CV75

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Posted (edited)

General authorities as trained gospel theologians.....

It has a certain je ne sais quoi.....

Nibley is rolling over in his grave.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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2 hours ago, churchistrue said:

Of course. Prooftexting started as soon as scripture did. I'm acknowledging there is a certain tradition and validity to it. Not sure where you're going with this.

We're getting there. Whom do we trust to get it right? Why?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

General authorities as trained gospel theologians.....

It has a certain je ne sais quoi.....

Nibley is rolling over in his grave.

Scripture is in the heart of writer, and is the seed and soil from which the reader's own revelations can grow.

Interpretation, exegesis, hermeneutics, scholarship are the philosophies of men.

Revelation begits revelation, not philosophical interpretation 

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin anyway? What did God do as a boy? You think you're really going to discover that through erudite discussion?

Galileo knew the difference while the Cardinal did not.

Edited by mfbukowski
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Put 5 Biblical Scholars in a room and ask for an interpretation of a scripture. Unless the scripture is " Jesus wept " you will probably get at least 5 opinions. And even then...

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36 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

Put 5 Biblical Scholars in a room and ask for an interpretation of a scripture. Unless the scripture is " Jesus wept " you will probably get at least 5 opinions. And even then...

At least one will say there was no such person we know as Jesus.

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2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Scripture is in the heart of writer, and is the seed and soil from which the reader's own revelations can grow.

Interpretation, exegesis, hermeneutics, scholarship are the philosophies of men.

Revelation begits revelation, not philosophical interpretation 

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin anyway? What did God do as a boy? You think you're really going to discover that through erudite discussion?

Galileo knew the difference while the Cardinal did not.

It’s easy to see how this could evolve into a Great Apostacy.

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5 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Exactly.  But what does that mean in practice?  Put me in charge, and I would send each called G.A. to an M.A. program in theology (or the like) at a good school (prepaid) such as Harvard or Yale Divinity School, or the GraduateTheological Union at Berkeley, or to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (he could live at the BYU Jerusalem Center).  Men without at least a B.A. could not even be called.  What did Joseph Smith do?  He hired a Jewish scholar and had him teach Hebrew to the Brethren in the School of the Prophets.

Any one of a number of scholars would have been quite happy to read and critique Elder Callister's new book.  The mystery is, Why didn't he avail himself of that option?  It is possible that he is so unaware of the beartraps which awaited him that he simply did not realize how wrong he could be.  This is a direct consequence of the lack of serious historical and theological training for our general authorities.  They do not know what they don't know, and therefore cannot be humble about it.  Worse, his publisher was not even aware of the possibility that the book needed to be read by a professional.

Maybe the prophets should stick to what they do best....calling us to repentance?

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1 hour ago, strappinglad said:

Put 5 Biblical Scholars in a room and ask for an interpretation of a scripture. Unless the scripture is " Jesus wept " you will probably get at least 5 opinions. And even then...

Put 50 Biblical scholars in a room and you would get the same 5 opinions with 40 of them agreeing on one.

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Maybe the prophets should stick to what they do best....calling us to repentance?

Tell it to Joe Smith.  He might have thought that knowing the Hebrew and Greek words for "repentance" had value, if only so that one could understand the Scriptures. Does being a prophet divest one of his intellect.  God gave us brains for a reason:  He wants us to use them.

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