Goethe and Mormonism

Der Meister – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832). I am currently taking a senior seminar on the life and writings of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. My professor, Hans Wilhelm-Kelling, has an article comparing some of Goethe’s (often enigmatic) religious convictions with Latter-day Saint theology. According to Kelling, some of Goethe’s religious thoughts that intersect with … Read more

The Biblical Books of Kings and Chronicles: Their Value and Limitations for the Study of Ancient Israelite History

The so-called Taylor Prism, or Sennacherib’s Annals (circa 690 BCE), describing, among other things, Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem in 701 BCE. Introduction Any student of the Bible[1] must inevitably ask him or herself the question of how much credibility one can assign to the historical claims found therein. To many modern readers of the Bible, especially … Read more

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