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    BoM loose historicity, Open Theism, pragmatic epistemology, Aristotelianism, traditionalism

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  1. Who disapprove of Josh's religious beliefs? Is that all? Is that it? Who gave them the right to dictate who can be in class with them? That school's administration is weak.
  2. I think Mark and I would be fundamentally in agreement: we see red and therefore, for all practical intents and purposes, the red is there. I could be mistaken but I think that's how it would go.
  3. I believe we understand the concept of interpretation differently. I believe that the meaning of a passage cannot be accessed without interpreting a passage. This seems to me to be an obvious truth, as words have no meaning to an infant who cannot read them or an adult who has not learned the language. The meaning of a sentence is not self-evident in the way that the presence of the color red is self-evident. We have to read the sentence, discern the words, recall their definitions and grammar, and apply our background knowledge of the concepts in order to understand the sentence. That is a process of interpretation. I do not use interpretation to mean "attach whatever meaning you like." The words that are used in a sentence constrain the possible meanings of that sentence, though words are often vague and subject to misinterpretation. I believe that a sentence can have a correct interpretation. But I don't believe that is necessarily true in all cases, and I don't believe that parables necessarily have one true interpretation. Neither did the four Evangelists, apparently, since they use and repackage Old Testament verses all the time. And neither, for that matter, did Nephi. Nephi believed that the prophets could not be understood by anybody but the Jews, but he refused to teach his people after the manner of the Jews and refused to write his own Judaic understanding. Instead, he prophesied after the manner of his own plainness...which means that Nephi broke from how he previously interpreted the scriptures, hewing instead to the spirit of prophecy within him. All this is plainly visible in 2 Nephi 25. I personally think that the God who authorized scripture can do that, and that the best interpretation of a scripture may not necessarily be the "original" one given our God, who is not as constrained by time as we are. As for Welch and Bradley, I sincerely am at a loss as to why you think their work is so offensive. They are not corrupting scripture in heretical fashion, they're trying to explore parts of it that were lost. What is wrong with that?
  4. I don't get that impression. But then again, I am in something of a privileged epistemic position. I know Dr. Collings personally. I haven't discussed this with him, but based on our prior acquaintance and what I have learned of him, I have a confidence similar to Professor Handley's. This is an encouragement to explicitly apply Latter-day Saint thought to contemporary fields of study. It's fashionable today to approach fields of study through a multiplicity of explicitly labelled perspectives: feminist perspectives on Field of Study X, decolonialist, Catholic social teaching, pragmatist, Jewish, etc. I think Collings is pushing for BYU to become the seedbed of distinctly Latter-day Saint approaches to various fields of study which explicitly incorporate and take from Latter-day Saint thought and experiences. It's a reminder to "look unto Christ in every thought", applied to the life of the mind.
  5. The "message the text conveys" cannot be accessed without interpretation. The very message itself is the product of interpretation. "Objective" is fake when it comes to textual analysis and historiography, and "critical" is really just the weighing of competing interpretations; the best you can hope for in narrative history is "intersubjectivity", not "objectivity." I will note that Bradley's research is in large part derived from witness testimony who say that the Book of Lehi talked a lot more about temple ceremony and ritual than the succeeding portions of the Book of Mormon.
  6. What a pity. That trashy situation isn't ever gonna change if there aren't dissenters.
  7. Forgive me, I don't think having a temple recommend is too much to ask of BYU professors. And asking them to explore their topics with an eye to highlighting how Latter-day Saint thought interacts with those topics is not too much to ask either. I don't buy that narrative. Nor, frankly, do I buy the narrative that this indicates that BYU is planning to wrap students in a baby blanket. On the contrary, I see a call to boldly confront the world as it is, to chart the ragged edge where Latter-day Saint thought meets the chaotic world, to stake out forward positions in the great rhetorical battles of our time. The idea that this is somehow a retrenchment is an artifact of a narrative which takes our defeat for granted.
  8. Ok. I'm gonna be honest, I don't know what counts as a "good professor" under the circumstances. Prolific publishers and big grant-getters? If that's the metric, I'm fine with losing it: I think the "publications=products" model of the modern academy makes the academy a font of systemic social instability. Getting some alternative models would be great, models which don't produce the "permanent revolution" like digestion produces feces. Losing good teachers, on the other hand, could be a problem. I expect, however, that if there are such stark negative consequences, words will be had with the respective bishops or such checks and balances will be put in place. And, above all, I reject the mythical independence of the mythological "university" or "academia." It was never independent; however, the sorts of decentralized applications of pressure which prevail in the academy are easier to disguise. I'm talking about the social-reputational credit system, the conditions attached to grant funding, publishing gatekeeping, and the threat of reprisals based on administrative/student disapproval which certainly already exist (see @Bernard Gui's comment.) So appeals to "academic independence" won't get much traction with me. Yeah, "academic freedom" in the Anglophone West is more or less a meme at this point; the kind that isn't supposed to be funny but is. The "sanctity" of the academia has been thoroughly desecrated by a hundred administrative genuflections before a thousand angry Tweets. Thank heavens, the mask needed to slip at some point.
  9. It probably is mostly due to our changing world, no doubt. And in such a changing world, old approaches may no longer reflect the new realities. Good on BYU.
  10. Honestly, I love those and feel the Spirit rather strongly with regard to them.
  11. I believe that, per the classical Christian view, God never began to exist, so He does not have nor need a cause. Only things which begin to exist at some point in time require a cause. Things which are self-existent, which always are and always have been, do not.
  12. I will note that Latter-day Saint philosophers Joseph Lawal and Blake Ostler have criticized the Kalam Cosmological Argument along various lines of reasoning. Blake Ostler, Do Kalam Infinity Arguments Apply to the Infinite Past? Joseph Lawal, William Lane Craig's Attack on Latter-day Saint Cosmology (Part 1) there is no part 2. The philosophical argumentation is extremely technical, so it isn't for the faint of heart, but between the two of them, they've cast enough doubt on the Kalam that I can't give it the benefit of the doubt. In philosophy, the benefit of the doubt is about all you can get, so the Kalam doesn't really do it for me.
  13. Was not aware that BYU runs faculty by GA's for approval. Is that elsewhere documented?
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