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Sic Et Non

“Former LDS bishop calls for church leaders to stop interviewing teens about sexual practices”

1 month 2 weeks ago
    There’s a campaign brewing:   “Former LDS bishop calls for church leaders to stop interviewing teens about sexual practices”   I’ve read online complaints about sex-related questions in bishops’ worthiness interviews for quite a few years now.   I have to say, though, that I never experienced anything like the “predatory” questioning — to borrow […]
Dan Peterson

The Arab conquests under ‘Umar

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Continuing with a preliminary brief account (from one of my manuscripts in progress) of the early history of Islam under the second caliph, ‘Umar b. al-Khattab:   These were astonishing conquests, rapid and seemingly without end, and it was not only the ancient Christians who saw them as fortunate (indeed, perhaps even as […]
Dan Peterson

The Big Bang and a few subsequent things

1 month 2 weeks ago
    The evolution of the universe can be likened to a display of fireworks that has just ended: some few wisps, ashes and smoke.  Standing on a well-chilled cinder, we see the fading of the suns, and try to recall the vanished brilliance of the origin of the worlds. Father Georges Lemaître, the mathematician […]
Dan Peterson

“This longing . . . IS the return message.”

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Thanks to Russell Stevenson for reminding me of this choice passage from Orson Pratt’s essay on “The Absurdities of Immaterialism”:   “If, at death, his followers are to be made like him, they will enjoy, with some of the modern Pagans, all the beauties of annihilation. To be made like him! Admirable thought! […]
Dan Peterson

The Good News

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Just up, in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, two new book reviews:  “An Important Year in History”) and “Janus Parallelism in the Book of Job: A Review of Scott B. Noel’s Work.”   Today marks the 280th Friday in a row that Interpreter has published at least one article or review.  The Interpreter Foundation […]
Dan Peterson

Humans and Science

1 month 2 weeks ago
    I continue to point out the fairly well established fact that — on this planet, anyway — science is largely done by humans.  And that there are, among humans, pressures to conform.  Which, to some of my more fevered critics, reveals me to be anti-science and, even worse, a religious fundamentalist.  Here’s a […]
Dan Peterson

Non-Muslims and Muslims

1 month 2 weeks ago
    This is great:   “Dodger Dogs, Mormons and Muslims: One couple’s moral authority builds interfaith bridges”   Back in the days when I was still permitted association with the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative that I conceived and founded at BYU and when I was, thus, also involved on a regular basis in outreach to Muslims around […]
Dan Peterson

“Introducing ‘An Introduction to the Book of Abraham'”

1 month 2 weeks ago
    It’s been a busy day, and I’m a bit late.  But here’s the column that I wrote for Thursday’s Deseret News:   “Introducing ‘An Introduction to the Book of Abraham'”   ***   I encourage you to participate in the 2017 “Light the World” campaign sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of […]
Dan Peterson

The Historical Jesus and an Unearthly Beauty

1 month 2 weeks ago
    I think that most Latter-day Saints or other Christians who have toured in Israel, or who are planning to do so soon, or who hope to do so eventually, will enjoy this article in the current (December 2017) issue of National Geographic:   “What Archaeology is Telling Us about the Real Jesus: Believers […]
Dan Peterson

Why would extremist Islamists massacre worshipers at a mosque?

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Some have written to me, wondering (in connection with the horrific recent massacre at that Egyptian mosque in the Sinai) why Islamist terrorists would murder devout Muslims — and especially when the victims were actually gathered in a mosque for the major weekly Muslim worship service, the Friday noon prayer.  (In Arabic, Friday is […]
Dan Peterson

“Light the World”!

1 month 2 weeks ago
    I first read the famous Meditations of the Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180; reigned 161-180) when I was a teenager, and the volume has been one of my very favorite books ever since.  Here’s one of many quotable passages from it:   Say to yourself in the early morning: […]
Dan Peterson

Christmas in Bethlehem

1 month 2 weeks ago
    At the specific request of the Deseret News, I wrote this column back in December 2010.  I include the editors’ introductory note:   LDS Church history sites that dot the eastern half of the United States all prepare for Christmas with lights, Nativity displays and other decorations. This week Mormon Times highlights Christmas at […]
Dan Peterson

Archaeological evidence that it really IS the site of Christ’s burial and resurrection?

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Several people have called my attention to this story, which is quite appropriate for the Christmas season (and will be even more appropriate for Easter):   “Age of Jesus Christ’s Purported Tomb Revealed”   “Age of ‘Christ’s tomb’ is revealed: Mortar used in the complex dates to Rome’s first Christian emperor suggesting it really […]
Dan Peterson

One of my (many) regrets

1 month 2 weeks ago
    I’ve just come across a 1991 New York Times article about the great astronomer Allan Sandage, who died in 2010:   “Sizing Up the Cosmos: An Astronomer’s Quest”   Here’s how it opens:   “PASADENA, Calif.— In the mornings before smog dims the sky like a dirty nebula, Dr. Allan R. Sandage can stand […]
Dan Peterson

The origin of the “caliphate”

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Continuing with my draft manuscript:   Abu Bakr was the first man to bear the title of “caliph,” to serve as the political successor of the Prophet.[1] He lived for only two more years beyond the death of Muhammad, but it was during his rule that a series of small campaigns known as […]
Dan Peterson

Did Jesus even EXIST?

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Thanks to Jaxon Washburn for reminding me of this statement, made by Elder Erastus Snow of the Council of the Twelve Apostles on 3 March 1878:   “‘What,’ says one, ‘do you mean we should understand that Deity consists of man and woman? Most certainly I do. If I believe anything that God has […]
Dan Peterson

The Succession to Muhammad

1 month 3 weeks ago
    From a forthcoming book. Beginning with the year AD 632, in Arabia:   Muhammad was dead. Now came the question of succession. The founder of Islam left no clear instructions on this question. Some felt that he had designated Ali, his cousin and son-in-law and one of the earliest male converts to Islam, […]
Dan Peterson

Scientific and quasi-scientific thinking, good and bad

1 month 3 weeks ago
    For particular reasons, I’ve just re-read an article by Ugo A. Perego and Jayne E. Eakins, “Is Decrypting the Genetic Legacy of America’s Indigenous Populations Key to the Historicity of the Book of Mormon?” that appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 12 (2014): 237-279.   It’s very, very good.  Those who are interested […]
Dan Peterson

“Father and mother believed him; why should not the children?”

1 month 3 weeks ago
    From a rough manuscript of mine:   Another indication of the Prophet’s sincerity is the striking fact that his own family manifestly believed him.[1]  “The parents and all living brothers and sisters of Joseph Smith believed his account of his visions.  In fact, the two grandparents still alive in 1830 also believed.”[2]  For […]
Dan Peterson
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2 hours 52 minutes ago
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