Priesthood Article in Dialogue

My article on “Early Mormon Priesthood Revelations” is out in the winter 2013 issue of Dialogue. I think they are doing some free access right now, so get on over there!

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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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Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale: Summer Course.

Summer Course 2014, “Jonathan Edwards and Missions.”

The Jonathan Edwards Centre is please to announce the Summer Course 2014, “Jonathan Edwards and Missions.” Date: June 9-13, 2014 Location: Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT.

Teaching staff: Kenneth P. Minkema, Adriaan C. Neele.

Using primary and secondary readings, multimedia presentations, and student discussions, this course will focus on Jonathan Edwards as missionary, examining his work at the mission post of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, during the 1750s, where he ministered to Mohawks, Mahicans, and Tuscaroras.

Edwards composed sermons specifically for the natives, wrote copious correspondence to provincial and imperial officials on their behalf, and dealt with native spirituality and social life.

To help understand Edwards’ role and methods, we will place his work in the context of New World comparative missions by the Portuguese, Spanish, French, and British, with particular emphasis on the evolution of British missions in New England, the founding of the Stockbridge mission, and competition from other agencies such as those of the SPG and the Moravians.

Included in the readings will be selections from one of Edwards’ most important works, and a key text in the history of American and English missions, The Life of David Brainerd.

In addition, attention will be given to the reception of some of Edwards works in the history of missions, including but not limited to the Baptist Missionary Society, London Missionary Society, and the French Paris Evangelical Missionary Society.

Book Update

So, I haven’t been able to work on the book much for the past couple of months, but I’m back working on the last chapter every day for an hour or so. Intro is more or less written, working on the genetic criticism. Need to proof it then format for the electronic version. I hope to have things wrapped up before the end of the year.

The Society for Textual Scholarship

A relatively new organization for text scholars, The Society of Textual Scholarship is online and for text geeks like yours truly, it promises fun times. Text scholarship has met the digital revolution and embraced it with enthusiasm. There is room for the classical presentation, but the digital world has opened new vistas for tapping new audiences and integrating text scholarship more powerfully with disciplines across the academic spectrum. This is fun stuff and the deadline for submissions for the upcoming 2014 conference is approaching. The program for last March is here. If you have a text study project, this is the place to get it noticed.

Joseph Smith Papers: Documents Vol. 1 Launched.

The Joseph Smith Papers team has announced the publication of the first volume in the Documents series. This series will tread fascinating trails in uncovering/publicizing much of the material the heretofore has only grazed the desks of some historians. The editors of this volume, and those editorial groups yet to appear in the series have their work cut out for them. If this first volume is any indication of what is to come, it looks like a revolution in the way we will treat Joseph Smith in our devotional as well as historical literature. Go JSP!

The first volume in Documents is available for order now. Go over to josephsmithpapers.org and scroll down to the bottom right side of the page. And then, order one!

Losing the Context — Preaching in Early Mormonism

The institution of Mormonism has generally prized parts of, or all of Joseph Smith’s literary production. Joseph wrote little himself, seeing that as a kind of separate duty, tasked nearly exclusively to more capable hands. When a document-driven history began to emerge in the late 1830s, Joseph was a driving force, but rarely a contributor beyond supplying those relevant documents.
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The Gift of Tongues: The Propagation of Sermon Texts in Mormonism

Another blast from the past. It seemed appropriate.

In spite of all the talk about remembering what we feel in a sermon experience, not what we hear, as valid as that may be, it is the text that reigns supreme. Recreating a sermon is not possible. But recording the words spoken on the occasion may be valuable. From the very beginning of Joseph Smith’s career, it was the text that trumped all other things. The Book of Mormon saga places the text in the role of savior, preserver and founder of language and true religion. It was to be expected that Mormons would keep records, and by commandment.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 8.

From its very inception Mormonism was linked to the print trade. In this it followed American Protestantism and especially Methodism, whose Book Concern was fabled for volume printing. The industry served two purposes across religious groups in America: it got the “word” out and it helped to support the church infrastructure.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 7.

Paper, was a product of Chinese invention. The process was driven by human labor of course and didn’t become machine powered until water mills came on line in Medieval times. Making paper requires a material base consisting of suitable fibers. Water provides the ability to defuse the material through mechanical action like pounding it with wooden or metal tools. The resulting slurry can be spread over a draining screen and when dry, paper results.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 6.

Up until about a century ago, type was set (composed) by hand. This was an art. The type had to be set as the mirror image of the desired document for obvious geometrical reasons.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 5.

Type is regularization/uniformization of handwriting. Handwriting samples are known from before 3,000BC. It is certain that nearly all instances of early writing are lost to the ravages of time and circumstance. Some of the more sturdy methods of recording early writing have survived because of accidental or purposeful preservation. Ancient texts by the ancient Sumerians and for the next two millennia or so, all texts were produced by hand in ink on papyrus, animal skins, on wet clay via wooden stylus, on metal sheets, and so on.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 4.

I don’t want to jump into Mormon printing just yet. It’s a large subject with many interesting aspects. Here I want to mention how some of what I’ve covered so far applies to Mormon works and collections. The terms “recto,” “verso,” “leaf,” “page,” and “folio” are usually appropriated to manuscripts in a way analogous to their use in defining parts of a book.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 3.

When a typesetter/printer talks about space between lines in a book the classical term is leading (placing “leads” between lines). Expressed in points it will usually read larger than the font size. A 12/14 system means 12pt font, 14pt leading. In a book, the normal line length is called the measure. This may be expressed numerically. Like 10/1120. This indicates the book is typeset in a 10pt font, 11pt leading, 20 pica measure. A pica is 12 points (yeah, it’s not base ten folks). A pica is indicated by suffix pc, such as 33pc. 10pc = 120pt.
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Books and Printing and Mormons. Part 2.

Type is a character you put on a page via a sort. A sort is a piece of lead you can use to put a type character on a page by inking it first and then pressing it onto the page. See part 1 for the meaning of page. “Type” gets used as a modifier in all sorts of ways (ok that was a bad one). Like, type setter, designer, cutter, or type foundry.
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