Die vier Weltalter; or, Schiller as Proto-Mormon

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805).  The Council of Gods (1518) by Raphael. Next to the immortal Goethe, Friedrich Schiller stands as the great German polymath of Weimar Classicism and the Sturm und Drang (conventionally translated as “storm and stress”) literary movement. Schiller’s works include dramas, poetry, histories, and philosophical essays.  Schiller’s work has endured in popular culture, … Read more

Drink Deep: Resources on Early Mormon Plural Marriage

Look, we can’t kid ourselves or others by pretending this never happened. It happened, but there’s no reason to freak out about it. The early Mormon practice of plural marriage is one of the most controversial legacies of Mormonism. Understandably, many people, including members of the Church, are often troubled by what they hear are … Read more

Once Again: Joseph Smith, Richard Dawkins, and the Language of Translation

The King James Bible: the greatest monument of English literature or a work of charlatanry? [This is another follow-up post to these posts here, here and here. This blog post has been reposted at the Interpreter blog here.] At the risk of overkilling this topic, I want to return to Richard Dawkins’ arguments against the … Read more

Does the Bible Teach Creation Ex Nihilo?

Destruction of Leviathan (1865) by Gustave Doré Not according to Ziony Zevit. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” On the basis of this well-known rendering, it can be argued that the ancient Israelites believed in creation ex nihilo, that is, creation out of nothing. This happens not to be the case. … Read more

Archaic Hebrew in the Old Testament (And What It Means for the Book of Mormon)

One of the Lachish ostraca (7th century BCE), written in paleo-Hebrew script. Some time ago I posted a blog entry at Interpreter on the atheist polemicist Richard Dawkins’ argument that the Book of Mormon is a fraud because Joseph Smith rendered his translation into Jacobean English. Dawkins’ argument is (and I’m not making this up) … Read more

Mormonism and Magic

Abra, Kadabra, Alakazam! My good friend Brandon Habermeyer has an interesting blog post on the relationship between Mormonism and magic. I actually agree with a lot of what Brandon has highlighted in his blog post. I am also pleased that this is a question that has been explored by numerous Mormon historians. I myself remember reading D. … Read more