From BoAP Archives: Who is Iscah?

This originally appeared a few years ago at BCC. Since it’s Old Testament times in Sunday School, I thought this curiosity might be fun for you.

Abraham’s family life is the stuff of Jew, Gentile, and Mormon legend. But, I’m not going to break into that territory much. It’s too complex and I don’t have the mental space for it now. But, who is Iscah? The name appears once in the Hebrew Bible, just after the genealogy of Abram:
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Muggles, Mormons and Theology

“Mainstream” Protestantism during Joseph Smith’s lifetime was locked in important controversies over things like the nature and extent of freewill, grace, perfectionism, slavery and the like.

But drop groups like the Mormons or Shakers into the discussion and those other disagreements paled.
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From the Archives: The Length of a Papyrus Scroll

Revival- server problem corrected. Sorry, just forgot about this.

A while ago, someone asked me a question about determining the length of a papyrus scroll  (before you unroll it obviously). The question pertained specifically to, you guessed it, P. Joseph Smith (the document of breathing part). I thought about this for a few minutes and it’s really not a hard problem.

The inverse problem, deciding what a scroll looked like in its rolled state, if you encounter it unrolled may be of interest, but both problems are connected to basically the same set of measurements. A more interesting problem is estimating the maximum length of a scroll when only a fragment is available.

Some of you geeks might be interested in how it goes, if you haven’t already guessed it.  This of course is clearly connected to the name of this blog, if not to the charter, but, rules are made to be broken (again and again).  Have a little sleep-inducing fun (warning, it’s a pdf doc):

Papyrus-length-comp

The Pearl of Great Price – A History

[Reposted from 2010.]

In our priesthood meeting a few weeks back a part of the lesson involved inviting class members to offer brief accounts of “how we got them and what’s in ‘em” in regard to the Mormon scriptures. Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants went about as short and sweet as you might imagine, but no one volunteered anything about the Pearl of Great Price beyond the usual bit about its contents. (I don’t usually comment – unless someone points at me and asks. Its been a good policy)
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Preaching Manuals, The Eighteenth Century, Jonathan Edwards and Joseph Smith

The Sermon Culture of the America prior to Joseph Smith’s advent was dominated by several important figures. Certainly the most well known of the 18th century was Jonathan Edwards. While Joseph Smith rarely penned much of anything, and never wrote down a sermon, he had stock topics that he returned to with some frequency.

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Toward a Theology of the Material

[Cross-posted at BCC. But it seems oddly Abrahamic, so here it is again.]

[I was just sitting here - thinking about where the fun speculations of 19th century Mormonism might lead, and this is what came out. Excuse its ragged form.]

Mormonism has a uniquely materialist bent. It posits that the material is necessary for complete happiness.[1] That while the world is biphasic, physical and spiritual, both are material.[2] Modern physics divides much of its attention between the very large (cosmology) and the very small (quantum phenomena). In the large, physics tells us of a universe whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere and yet expanding. That expansion is apparently going on forever, never to stop.
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Boap.org Facelift

We have a new face! And I think I like it better than the old one. Go on, click on the link. All thanks to Tod Robbins and Kelly Edvalson. Hopefully this presages more changes ahead for other pages on the site. Also some new content. But don’t hold your breath for it. These things take time.

Joseph Smith’s Sermon of February 5, 1840

A recent broadcast from lds radio featured Ron Barney and Jeff Cannon of the Joseph Smith Papers Project, on Joseph Smith’s visit to Washington, D.C. in late 1839, early 1840.[1] While no diary was kept during the journey, there were letters sent from Washington by Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee, and an account of meeting(s) with President Martin Van Buren survive in the memoirs of Illinois democrat John Reynolds who introduced Smith and Higbee to Van Buren. Van Buren, the epitome of political savvy at the time, held a states rights view of US politics and excused himself from intervention in the Mormon question on that basis. As Reynolds put it, Joseph left Washington a “red hot Whig.” While Joseph was in the East, he did take the opportunity to deliver several sermons to both Latter-day Saint congregations and to other interested parties.
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The Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar

In case you are interested in the subject of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, take a look at William Schryver’s recent paper/presentation on the subject. He both lays to rest something I proposed a long time ago, and confirms something else. It’s a remarkable bit of detective work and links up with some recent work of Sam Brown.[1] Have a look here.
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[1] Samuel Brown, “The Translator and the Ghostwriter: Joseph Smith and William Phelps.” Journal of Mormon History, 34/1 (Winter 2008), 26 – 62.

Uh Oh. Foreordination.

Foreordination is an interesting doctrine. What are its boundaries? Its nuances?
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Elkenah. Check Out Kevin Barney’s Stuff

If you’ve got at least a little interest in the Book of Abraham, you’ll be interested in Kevin Barney’s article in the latest Journal of Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 19/1(2010):22-35. Excellent, thorough stuff.

The Priesthood Revelation of 1978, The Book of Abraham and Missionaries

Growing up in Utah, I had little contact with blacks of any sort, let alone those of African descent. That is until the 6th grade. Read more of this post

The Length of a Papyrus Scroll

A while ago, someone asked me a question about determining the length of a papyrus scroll  (before you unroll it obviously). The question pertained specifically to, you guessed it, P. Joseph Smith (the document of breathing part). I thought about this for a few minutes and it’s really not a hard problem.

The inverse problem, deciding what a scroll looked like in its rolled state, if you encounter it unrolled may be of interest, but both problems are connected to basically the same set of measurements.

Some of you geeks might be interested in how it goes, if you haven’t already guessed it.  This of course is clearly connected to the name of this blog, if not to the charter, but, rules are made to be broken (again and again).  Have a little sleep-inducing fun: (Note, the presentation has been updated based on various email responses and misunderstandings, etc., etc.)

Papyrus-length-comp

Joseph Smith and the Taxonomy of “Intelligence(s),” Part 2-Ground Rules.

Ok, this is part 2 of our discussion of Joseph Smith and certain words. Part 1 is here.

In this part, I mostly just want to map out a little of what I will exclude from the discussion.
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The Infinite, part 5. Mormonism and the Infinite.

The complexities of the infinite are magnified in ordinary discourse, and doubly so in western religions because infinity and its verbal relatives like “eternal” and “forever” are used in a wide range of ways, from the metaphorical and metaphysical to the literal. “Infinite” is sometimes used as a synonym for God. In an attempt to describe the “otherness” of God, phrases like, “sits on the top of a topless throne” were commonly used. Such seemingly self-contradictory claims were eschewed in Mormonism, which eventually engaged a very material aspect in the extra-mortal.
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