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Sic Et Non

The decline of the caliphate

7 hours 49 minutes ago
    Moving forward in classical Islamic history:   By the time that the ninth century was well underway, however, the caliph’s office had grown much weaker. There were several rea­sons for this. First, the caliphs had begun to rely upon imported soldiery. The old military fire had gone out of the Arabians—those who had […]
Dan Peterson

Was Joseph Smith one of the most sophisticated writers in history?

8 hours 38 minutes ago
    Rough notes from a book in progress:   Orson Pratt, who knew Joseph very well from their first acquaintance to the Prophet’s death in 1844, described Joseph Smith’s educational level as follows: Cultivating the earth for livelihood was an occupation, in which he employed the most of his time.  His advantages for acquiring […]
Dan Peterson

Mitt Romney, Multiple Worlds, Middle Initials, and Me

1 day 5 hours ago
    Every once in a while, I read a complaint by some critic of the Church or other about the odd and uniquely Mormon habit of using middle initials in the names of Church leaders — leaders like Heber J. Grant, David O. McKay, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas […]
Dan Peterson

Supernatural, but demonic?

1 day 15 hours ago
    There are two broad ways of viewing the Book of Mormon:  One holds it to be bogus and proposes some kind of naturalistic explanation for its existence.  The other accepts it to be what it claims to be and, thus, necessarily entails what can rather crudely be termed a “supernatural” explanation for it. […]
Dan Peterson

Enter the Abbasids (Part 3)

1 day 16 hours ago
    Every day, a bit more from one of my manuscripts:   But the emphasis of the ulama on law and on behavior came, in the eyes of some highly committed Muslims, to seem a mere con­centration on the externals, on the letter and not the spirit of Islam. They yearned for a more […]
Dan Peterson

Visiting the “Cathedral of Astronomy”

1 day 18 hours ago
    After attending the Vista California Stake conference yesterday, where we listened to (among others) Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, we continued further inland on Highway 76 to Palomar Mountain, which rises to somewhat more than 6000 feet above sea level.   I haven’t visited the great Mount […]
Dan Peterson

Sidney Rigdon and the Book of Mormon

2 days 9 hours ago
    I offer, below, some notes about suggestions that Joseph Smith had help in the composition of a fraudulent nineteenth-century Book of Mormon:   Although there have long been speculations about a helper or conspiracy of helpers, no primary historical source indicates that any other person assisted Joseph Smith in the composition of the […]
Dan Peterson

Enter the Abbasids (Part 2)

2 days 10 hours ago
    Proceeding with my manuscript on Islam for Mormons, including some further comments on the shari‘a :   With the dependence of the Abbasids on eastern or Persian support, and with physical movement in the direction of Iran, it is not surprising that the Abbasid caliph, surrounded by pomp, came eventually to be a […]
Dan Peterson

An “irrelevant shouting match”?

3 days 6 hours ago
    Some additional notes from Karl W. Giberson, Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution (New York: HarperOne, 2008):   Professor Giberson quotes a book by Michael Ruse, a philosopher who is emphatically not a religious believer but who answers Yes to the title of his own book, Can a Darwinian […]
Dan Peterson

“There is no truth but what belongs to the Gospel.”

3 days 14 hours ago
    The eminent geneticist Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who directed the Human Genome Project, also wrote a foreword to Karl W. Giberson, Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution (New York: HarperOne, 2008).  Here are some passages from it:   Darwin’s theory of evolution has been overwhelmingly supported by evidence […]
Dan Peterson

Enter the Abbasids (Part 1)

3 days 15 hours ago
    The manuscript continues:   In the middle of the eighth century, a revolt commenced in far-off Khurasan, in the area of what is today Afghanistan or eastern Iran. This was an area occupied largely by non-Arabs, who resented their second-class status within the empire. The revolutionaries also appealed to the Shiites by claiming […]
Dan Peterson

Oliver Cowdery and Other Mormon-Related Matters

4 days 7 hours ago
    From one of my myriad incomplete manuscripts:   Oliver Cowdery was bedridden for most of 1849, probably as a result of chronic pulmonary tuberculosis, and died at Richmond, Missouri, on 3 March 1850.[1]  A few months before his death, Cowdery was visited by Jacob Gates, a Latter-day Saint traveling eastward on a mission […]
Dan Peterson

“Laser scanning reveals ‘lost’ ancient Mexican city ‘had as many buildings as Manhattan'”

4 days 10 hours ago
    Just when we thought we knew absolutely everything that there was to know about the Pre-Columbian New World!   “Scientists discover ancient Mayan city hidden under Guatemalan jungle: Aerial laser mapping detects thousands of hidden structures in Peten region, suggesting its population was millions more than previously thought”   “Laser scanning reveals ‘lost’ […]
Dan Peterson

The Book of Mormon and botanical science

4 days 11 hours ago
    Moving a bit further forward in John W . Welch, et al., eds., Knowing Why: 137 Evidences That the Book of Mormon Is True (American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2017):   “Is Anything Known of Zenos outside the Book of Mormon?” (158-160) This article summarizes suggestions that have been made toward identifying Zenos (who appears at various places throughout the […]
Dan Peterson

Aliens did it.

5 days 7 hours ago
    From the British astrophysicist and theologian David Wilkinson, God, Time and Stephen Hawking: An Exploration Into Origins (London: Monarch Books, 2001), 166-167 (with some slight improvements in otherwise mysterious punctuation):   Some scientists . . . try to resist any theological interpretation at all costs.  An interesting example using aliens and other universes is given in […]
Dan Peterson

Jerusalem (aka Salem?), Shilom, Shalom, and Other Matters

5 days 13 hours ago
    Continuing with my reading of John W . Welch, et al., eds., Knowing Why: 137 Evidences That the Book of Mormon Is True (American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2017):   “Why Did Jacob Share the Allegory of the Olive Tree?” (156-157) One of the great chapters in the Book of Mormon is Jacob 5.  One of the best efforts […]
Dan Peterson

The obsolescence of the Umayyads

5 days 14 hours ago
    A short snippet from my manuscript-in-progress about Islam for a Latter-day Saint audience:   With the conversion of Christians from Aramaic and Greek and Coptic backgrounds, with the entry into Islam of large num­bers of Persians, and with the conquest of areas where Indian cul­ture prevailed, the Arabs gained access to the unimaginable […]
Dan Peterson

Polygamy, Plates, Psalms, and Testimony

6 days 5 hours ago
    I continue on with my notes from and/or inspired by John W . Welch, et al., eds., Knowing Why: 137 Evidences That the Book of Mormon Is True (American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2017).  While I haven’t been providing links, most if not all of the articles from which I’m drawing here are available, so far as I’m aware, at […]
Dan Peterson

Human deification in the Book of Mormon?

6 days 17 hours ago
    Another note, inspired by John W . Welch, et al., eds., Knowing Why: 137 Evidences That the Book of Mormon Is True (American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2017):   “What Does It Mean to Speak with the Tongue of Angels?”  (143-145) 2 Nephi 32:2 seems to suggest an implicit doctrine of human deification in the Book of Mormon — […]
Dan Peterson

“I think there are clearly religious implications.”

6 days 18 hours ago
    From a British astrophysicist and theologian:   Anthropic balances should not be dismissed.  They are a significant factor of the way the world is, and we need to note that they have led a number of scientists to questions of religion. Of course, such insights cannot be used to prove the existence of […]
Dan Peterson
Checked
1 hour 7 minutes ago
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