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Sic Et Non

Death, and the death of philosophical adventure

1 month 1 week ago
    One of the greatest minds of the twentieth century was that of the English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947).  Whitehead began his career with a primary focus on mathematics, logic, and physics, for which the greatest evidence is the famous three-volume Principia Mathematica, published between 1910 and 1913, which he wrote with a […]
Dan Peterson

“I want to hear them ring again”

1 month 1 week ago
    It seems that arrangements are shifting at the Deseret News.  So, to my surprise, the article that I submitted earlier this week to appear in the online and print editions of the newspaper on Thursday, yesterday, has actually appeared today in LDS Living.   “The Forgotten Witness of the Book of Mormon Who […]
Dan Peterson

Life in Cairo

1 month 2 weeks ago
    My wife and I lived for roughly four years in Egypt, in a southern suburb of Cairo called Ma‘adi that lies on the east bank of the Nile River.  We didn’t plan to be there so long; it simply worked out that way.  We were doing reasonably well financially, partly because of the […]
Dan Peterson

Oliver Cowdery on the restoration of the priesthood

1 month 2 weeks ago
    We’re familiar, of course, with Oliver Cowdery as one of the official Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon.  But his role in the early events of the Restoration, and his experiences with the divine, were broader than that.  Here are some rough notes from a manuscript:   A letter of Oliver Cowdery […]
Dan Peterson

“Ah, what then?”

1 month 2 weeks ago
    What if you slept?  And what if, in your sleep, you dreamed?  And what if, in your dream, you went to heaven and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower?  And what if, when you awoke, you had that flower in your hand?  Ah, what then? Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)   Some of […]
Dan Peterson

Two more books that were published by BYU’s Middle Eastern Texts Initiative

1 month 2 weeks ago
    I like to think that these editions will be important for many decades to come, and, indeed, that they won’t altogether lose their value for centuries.   1.   Modified slightly from the online description of Abu Hatim al-Razi’s The Proofs of Prophecy:   This book is the record of a debate that […]
Dan Peterson

“A much more gracious light”

1 month 2 weeks ago
    According to the Venerable Bede’s extraordinarily important Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (An Ecclesiastical History of the English People), which was written by that Anglo-Saxon monk and scholar in the early 700s AD, a man named Drythelm died one evening of a serious disease.  However, his grieving relatives were “terrified beyond measure” the next morning when […]
Dan Peterson

I believe in, and I belong to, the Communion of the Saints

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Fairly commonly, I encounter the claim from disaffected member x or apostate former believer y that the Church of today is no longer the Church in which x or y was raised.  Or — a variant of that claim — that the “apologists” have so modified the claims of the Gospel that it’s […]
Dan Peterson

Notes on Launching BYU’s Islamic Translation Series

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Some modified notes from a sketch, composed several years ago, of the origin and history of BYU’s Islamic Translation Series:   Conversations about the concept of what would become the Islamic Translation Series began in the early 1990s.  I had cherished the dream of such a project since his days in graduate school.  […]
Dan Peterson

“Real consciousness remains intact.”

1 month 2 weeks ago
    “The Day a Latter-day Saint Saw Heaven—and Decided to Stay on Earth”   ***   Continuing with the line of thought mentioned in my entry titled “‘Anatomically and functionally impossible’?”, drawn from Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (New York: HarperCollins, 2010)”   On the basis of these findings, we […]
Dan Peterson

“The Nature of the Original Language of the Book of Mormon”

1 month 2 weeks ago
    The following notice is now up on the Interpreter websites:   Coming Event: Lecture on a new publication, The Nature of the Original Language of the Book of Mormon We are pleased to announce the publication of another two volumes of the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project by Royal Skousen, with the […]
Dan Peterson

“Operation Finale”

1 month 2 weeks ago
    My wife and I just returned from watching Operation Finale.  I won’t say that we enjoyed it — it’s not the kind of film that one should “enjoy” — but we’re both glad that we went.   As I’ve explained here several times before, I feel a strong moral and personal/familial obligation both […]
Dan Peterson

“The Power of Faith”

1 month 2 weeks ago
    New, on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:   “Da and Angélique Tarr: The Power of Faith: Stories of the Saints in the DR Congo, Part 1”   ***   28 August 2018:  “President Nelson to Visit the Caribbean Area: Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife Ruth, will […]
Dan Peterson

A pretty good test of Joseph Smith’s sincerity

1 month 2 weeks ago
    More notes from an uncompleted manuscript:   When, in late June of 1844, Governor Thomas Ford demanded that Joseph come to Carthage, Illinois, a hotbed of hostility both to Mormonism and to Joseph personally, in order to answer serious charges that had been leveled against him by his enemies, Joseph first decided to […]
Dan Peterson

“Anatomically and functionally impossible”?

1 month 2 weeks ago
    I admire science and scholarship enormously.  Maybe, indeed, even too much.  But they’re human enterprises, carried out by humans — and, despite their overall very impressive record, they often manifest the flaws that are associated with humans.  The recent crisis of non-reproducible results in psychology and the other social sciences (and, to a […]
Dan Peterson

Abraham and the Heavens

1 month 2 weeks ago
    In Facsimile 3 of the Book of Abraham, the patriarch Abraham is represented as deeply conversant with ancient astronomical lore.  He doesn’t appear that way in the Bible, but other ancient texts pick up the same theme.  Here, for example, is a passage from the seventh-century Arabic Qur’an that shows him pondering the […]
Dan Peterson

The Shape of Things to Come

1 month 2 weeks ago
    My book Abraham Divided: An LDS Perspective on the Middle East has badly needed an update since its revised, second, edition came from the press in June 2001.  (Just think, for example, of what occurred later that very year, on 11 September!)   Well, I’m working on it.  Occasionally.   The trick (beyond getting the […]
Dan Peterson

“The process of learning and development goes on for eternity.”

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Raymond Moody, who holds a Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Virginia, an M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia, and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of West Georgia, more or less launched the modern interest in near-death experiences with his path-breaking 1975 book Life after Life.  Here are two […]
Dan Peterson

The Latter-day Saints and “Stalinist Art” Revisited (Part Four)

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Sometimes, people who’ve adopted a patently absurd position will persist in it long past the time that it’s become an embarrassment.  And, sometimes, that position is just too darned funny not to . . . well, not to have some fun with it.   Perhaps the strongest and most cogent argument adduced by […]
Dan Peterson
Checked
4 hours 38 minutes ago
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