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Posts posted by cksalmon

  1. Apparently my point is a bit too subtle for some, so I'll clarify.

    1- Tu quoque is not an argument, it's a fallacy.

    2- I do not engage in the argument from authority; I believe it is a fallacy. I am not making an argument from authority here.

    No. In this case, I have to disagree, Dr. Hamblin. Of course, neither a tu quoque argument nor an argument from authority is necessarily fallacious. Both have their places in legitimate argumentation schemes.

    I think Dr. Peterson has done some work in philosophy; you might ask him.

  2. Actually, it is quite possible to agree with Ehrman on some things, and disagree with him on others.

    In fact, I even disagree with my wife about some things. People are funny that way.

    Good to know, since I agree with Ehrman on lots of things and disagree with him on lots of others. It depends upon which Ehrman you're questioning: The debater or the scholar.

  3. "There are a lot of people who want to write sensational books and make a lot of money...."

    Indeed, there are.

    In their most recent debate, Dan Wallace made a waggish comment to the effect that some of the best arguments against Ehrman the popularizer are those made by Ehrman the scholar.

    None of that is news to Dr. Hamblin, of course.

    But, let's restrict our purview to this board. Goodness. I'd wager that Ehrman gets quoted 50:1 by Mormons vs. "anti-Mormons."

  4. If it is misinformation or ignorance IMNSHO it is willful. I am of the opinion that he has had ample opportunity to be informed.

    Frankly, I think your assessment gives him too much credit. Consider the source, sure. But, also, you know, consider the source.

  5. Either Hank Hanegraff is misinformed, ignorant, or lies. May be a combination of all three. In any case he misrepresents the churches doctrines on many issues and brings up "obscure" comments from past General Authorities, which are not considered official doctrines or official stances of the church. When such things are brought up from time to time by Hank, members of the church (well-intentioned) call in to defend their most sacred beliefs and to hopefully set the record straight.


    What are your opinions?

    Hanegraaff is, at best, a synthesizer of others' materials, rather than an original thinker. I don't consider him The Bible Answer Man.

    I place his radio program on the same level of quality as, say, Catholic Answers Live (with no undue offense intended to Roman Catholics).


    There is good evidence suggesting that Hanegraaff has, well, prevaricated, in the past, but if he has misrepresented official Mormon positions, I would chalk those "infelicities" up to either misinformation or ignorance rather than intentional deceit. The fairly well-documented instances of his alleged deceit, at least those of which I'm aware, are about personal matters.

    My $0.02.

  6. I was expecting this card to be played sooner. It always gets played, though.

    Goodness. Previously, I could only hope (but apparently was correct) that you were so expecting. So, kudos to me for assuming the role of Captain Obvious, I suppose. It's an issue of consistency, mak. It doesn't come out of left field.

    From a purely academic point of view the book is far more easily explained as an exclusive product of 19th century thought.

    Right. I suppose.

    Again, you equate whatever you appear to term "academic" with "unbiased," which is, in this discussion, a fatal category error, to be sure, but no matter. (Is introductory logic not required for a Masters degree at Oxford?)

    I have yet to run across a compositional theory that accounts for all of it, though. That's not to say there's not one, I just haven't seen one yet. Of course, the Book of Mormon isn't my professional field, and I've done little with it from an academic point of view.

    Okay. The question is not whether you've yet to come across a compositional theory that accounts for it all. And, the question is certainly not whether you've addressed the historicity of BoM in your professional endeavors.

    To repeat: The question is what your "purely academic perspective" (meaning that your "conclusions will derive exclusively from academic methodologies") makes of BoM.

    The few things I've treated from a purely academic perspective have resulted in exclusively naturalistic explanations.

    Fair enough. I am being uncharitable, then, in assuming that, from your purely "academic" perspective, BoM is the result of exclusively naturalistic events?

  7. My academic interpretations also favor understanding the Torah as an 8th to 5th century composition, the Exodus as fiction, Yahweh as an Edomite deity imported into Israel, and a number of other things that aren't favored by Latter-day Saints. If you read my scholarship you'll find far more interpretations in it that conflict with LDS ideology than that agree with it. The occasional overlap of Latter-day Saint ideology with academic perspectives in no way indicates anything related to religious ideology influences my scholarship. Again, I am approaching this from a purely academic perspective, meaning my conclusions will derive exclusively from academic methodologies, whether they agree with LDS ideologies or not, and usually they do not.

    Well, I do appreciate your putting it rather more indelicately than I would have done for you. I'll certainly take you at your word in this instance, though, mak.

    Your conflation of "academic" scholarship with what is indistinguishable from "unbelieving" scholarship is striking, to be sure--as if there were some singular "academic methodology" that necessitates a near wholesale rejection of the truth claims inherent in the OT biblical narrative.

    I also realize that many Latter-day Saints (far too many, in my opinion) are frankly unperturbed when the scholarship of certain Latter-day Saints like yourself (not to be confused with specifically-LDS scholarship) is utterly antithetical to the traditional truth claims of Mormonism regarding the Bible. As you say, your conclusions more often than not go squarely against traditional Mormon beliefs. Doesn't seem to bother most of the commenters, here, though.

    You too casually assume that your "purely academic perspective" deriving "exclusively from [secular] academic methodologies" is, by virtue of its frank irreligiousness, its commitment to eschewing religious claims, consequently unbiased and objective. Perhaps I was giving you too much credit. You seem to assume that the interpretations delivered by reference to the the tenets of unbelieving, non-religious scholarship are thus unbiased.

    Question: Does your scholarship also lead you to conclude that BoM is a literary artifact utterly unknown to history until it was composed in the 19th C (excluding the sections that reproduce KJV)?

    You see, I'm wondering what your "purely academic perspective" (meaning that your "conclusions will derive exclusively from academic methodologies") makes of that document.

  8. None of what I've said here has anything to do with my tradition's claims. I am approaching this from a purely academic point of view.

    I don't doubt your sincerity, mak. Let me put it like this: I believe that you believe that yours is a completely objective, "academic" (read: unbiased) interpretation--one that is wholly independent of and that rises above any of your own personal presuppositions, traditions, or religious commitments. And it also happens to be the interpretation favored by lots of Latter-day Saints.

  9. Coolrok7

    I don't wish to provide fodder to the Mormon cannon, but one should pay close attention to how צלם is used here. Despite what I've said in response to Mak, no, actually because of it, I think we should pay special attention to the usage here.

    That a physical form is in view, I believe, is best established via the relevant lexicography. Even while, at the same time, I discount mak's subsequent reductionistic use of it to buttress his own tradition's claims.

    WARNING: He may make lots of noise about how his view just is the scholarly consensus position of all the other naturalistic OT scholars he admires in his field.

    But, we should answer the question assumed.


  10. The original theological significance of the notion, if we must have one, was that Adam was the image of God, thus precluding the need for idols (the sense of virtually all other uses of tselem). The author of this portion of Genesis was the priestly writer, who was directly concerned with the use of idols in worship. I don't find this a terribly significant theological point for modern readers of the Bible.

    Even granting your interpretation (Adam is the image of God, need for idols thus precluded)--this seems to be a significant, and very theological, point. I don't know why modern readers of the Bible are supposed, on your view, to be uninterested.

  11. But there are a number of presuppositions you're asserting here. Most seriously, you presuppose Moses himself existed and wrote the portions of text attributed to him by much later tradition, and you assume polytheistic worship was borrowed from neighbors and not just indigenous to Israel. You can provide evidence of neither assumption, but there is plenty of evidence against both.


    Now, I don't mind being labeled a 'fundamentalist' (though I'm not), since I generally like those folks, and am closer to them than I am distant, but I can't tell you how it warms the cockles of my heart to see McClellan school his fellow Saints (like you) in the ways of modern 'biblical scholarship.'

    You're hopelessly naive if you think Moses himself existed and wrote the portions of text attributed to him by 'much later tradition.'

    Sorry, buddy.

  12. For the same phrase used of God's creation of Adam to be used also of a human's procreation of his own son undermines the notion that the phrase in reference to God's creation carries with it theological significant. To insist it does carry that significance raises the question of how that significance applies to the human's procreation of his own son.

    See above. My edit was corrupted due to inactivity.

  13. The use of the same phrase in Gen 5:3 to reference the procreation of Adam's son shows the phrase was not of significant theological import.

    The conclusion doesn't follow. Even if were to follow, we aren't just interested in the words qua words, or the phrase qua phrase, but in how the phrase functions in the context of the creation narrative. Whether, to borrow from Clines, we find here a mere obiter dictum (which is where your view tends, though you haven't gone that far) or a carefully considered theologoumenon.

    To insist it does carry that significance raises the question of how that significance applies to the human's procreation of his own son.

    I don't necessarily disagree with you, here. What I took exception to was your dogmatic conclusion that "the phrase was not of significant theological import," based solely on its repetition in another (analogous) context.

  14. צלם always and only refers to physical appearance. דמות has a wider range, but usually refers to physical likeness. Keep in mind Gen 5:3 states that Adam created Seth in his own "image and likeness" as well. Physical likeness is the best understanding of the phrase.

    I'm not disputing that צלם has reference to physical appearance/form. I grant that, freely. The question is whether a bare lexical analysis delivers the theological intent of the phrase.

    Physical likeness is the best understanding of the phrase.

    Doubtless, others agree, but I'm not one of them.

  15. Could someone please explain what it means that we are "in the image of God spiritually speaking?"



    I believe it's probably fallacious to ask Genesis 1.26's צלם and דמות (considered singly or in conjunction) to reveal some narrowly specific fact about humanity.* That is, Latter-say Saints who argue for a purely material similitude are surely missing the point. On the other hand, traditional Christian apologetic responses to Latter-day Saints that cordon off the meaning of Genesis 1.26 into the realm of some vague spiritual or cognitive facility are equally off-target.

    The immediate context suggests that dominion is a key component of God's image, but I believe the intent is to invite a much more holistic comparison.

    In short, I don't know what your Protestant friend means by "spiritually speaking," either.



    * Thanks to awh204 for the unicode.

  16. I'm sorry I do not have the time to address this as I should, but in essence, yes.

    Your position fails to consider the use Jesus made of this very passage when He was confronted with the charge of blasphemy. Since He was the One Who inspired David to write this hymn, we must assume he knew its meaning best.

    He clearly tells the I Jews that they all (including Himself) were gods. Any other explanation fails on those grounds alone.


  17. The fact is that most evangelicals with whose views I am familiar do think that demons were real beings who inspired pagan religions and who often were in some way identified as various deities. But most of us evangelicals also think that a lot of the gods of the nations were nothing more than figments of the people's superstitious imagination. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. Furthermore, we deny that these "gods" were ever legitimate rulers over their claimed domains.

    Hey Rob,

    Have you read Michael Heiser's dissertation, The Divine Council in Late Canonical and Non-Canonical Second Temple Jewish Literature? If so, what are your thoughts, in a nutshell?

    I don't necessarily disagree with what you've written above. I also don't think we should be squeamish just because The Mormons are rather overenthusiastic about the subject.

    Just curious.



  18. Paul likewise speaks of "the god of this age" as a real being to prevents people from accepting Christ. (2 Cor. 4:4) The most obvious interpretation of this passage is that he is referring to some Hellenistic/Roman/Canaanite deity, whom he probably equated with Satan.

    That the being is "Satan" is certainly the most common interpretation, but on what grounds is it the "most obvious?" I have no idea where you get idea that the being in question is "most [obviously]" interpreted as a "Hellenistic/Roman/Canaanite deity." Also, I apparently don't know what you mean by "obvious." "[Obviously]" a "Hellenistic/Roman/Canaanite deity?" The slashes appear to obviate obviousness.

    It's certainly not unequivocally so just because the being in question blinds nonbelievers to the truth of the Gospel, even in the face of Paul's apostolic "open statement of the truth."

    This passage resonates significantly with the divine commissioning of Isaiah's prophetic ministry (see Is. 6), wherein Isaiah is commanded to"[M]ake the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."

    On the other hand, quoth Calvin: "No one that judges rightly can have any doubt, that it is of Satan that the Apostle speaks." And then immediately conceded that ol' Golden Mouth, Ambrose, and Augustine held a contrary view.

    Edited to add: "I have no idea where you get idea that the being in question is 'most [obviously]' interpreted as a 'Hellenistic/Roman/Canaanite deity.' Also, I apparently don't know what you mean by 'obvious.' '[Obviously]' a 'Hellenistic/Roman/Canaanite deity?' The slashes appear to obviate obviousness."

  19. I guess I would cite Bart Ehrman as a prototype.

    Ehrman came to lose his faith in Christ (although he does not denounce Jesus, he merely disbelieves) at least primarily due to his researches in the scriptures, to wit, all the evidence suggested to Ehrman that there was no way to be certain what the scriptures actually looked like when they were first penned, and no way to know from the scriptures who Jesus Christ actually was. I've read a couple of his books, and I can see how HE came to the conclusions he came to, but as for me they confirmed at an intellectual level that when Nephi wrote that there were problems with the Bible, he was told this fact by the Lord, who certainly knew would happen.

    Ehrman has explicitly cited the 'problem of evil' as the issue that compelled him to reject religious belief, not textual variants. The conclusions of his text-critical scholarship appear to have been ancillary.

    and no way to know from the scriptures who Jesus Christ actually was

    I don't believe Ehrman has made this argument. He certainly accepts Jesus as a historical figure. While he doesn't accept the supernatural claims made about Jesus in NT, he obviously accepts that NT tells us something of historical value regarding who Jesus actually was.

  20. That is not very specific, Pa Pa. And in fact the first link that comes up has nothing to say about Dobson speaking at LDS meetings. Do you have some pointers to more specific dates or places?

    To be clear, I don't identify with Dobson or keep tabs on his activities, but the claim that he had been raked over the coals for speaking at LDS functions struck me as interesting. I mean, how did I miss that?

    And, of course, "James Dobson speaks to Mormons" was the exact phrase I typed into Google when I first saw Pa Pa's claim. There was nothing relevant there. Now, on the other hand, if you search for that term via Google, scroll down to the bottom of the page and find--

    Tip: These results do not include the word "speaks". Show results that include "speaks".

    --and click the amended search phrase, your post above, Calmoriah, is the first result!

    After searching as best I could think to do, I'm not at all convinced that Dobson has ever spoken at a single LDS function, let alone multiple LDS functions, only to have been been raked over the coals for having done so.

    I don't know why Pa Pa would resolutely claim such a thing, but, at this point, I don't think his claim has any basis in reality. I could certainly be wrong about that.

    I suppose I could issue an official, board-certified CFR, but I'm really not even all that interested. Sometimes (and I emphasize sometimes), I think, Pa Pa gets swept up in the heat of the moment and writes things that further his point whether or not they happen to be true.


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