Insights: An Ancient Window
The Newsletter of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies
Hugh W. Nibley Fellowships for the 1995-1996 academic year have been announced by FARMS. Awards have been made to continue support for the two recipients of the fellowship for 1994-1995, Gaye Strathearn and John Gee, and to assist four new Nibley Fellows: Anthony Rivera Jr., Allen J. Christenson, Carl Griffin, and Frank F. Judd Jr.
Gaye Strathearn is beginning her third year of a Ph.D. program in New Testament Studies at Claremont Graduate School, and John Gee is completing work on his dissertation in Egyptology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University.
Anthony Rivera has begun a Ph.D. program in Biblical Hebrew in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. Allen Christenson is in his second year of an M.A. program in Pre-Columbian Art History in the Department of Art History at the University of Texas at Austin.
Carl Griffin is beginning the first year of an M.A. program in the Department of Early Christian Studies at the Catholic University of America. Frank Judd has begun a Ph.D. program in New Testament and Early Christianity in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The foundation is pleased to be able to assist these promising students in the name of Hugh Nibley, to honor his contributions to LDS scholarship. The recipients, the Nibley family, and FARMS are grateful for the generous donations that have made this fellowship program possible. For example, FARMS recently received a donation of $200 from the Reid/Sloan family organization (Nibley is a descendent of both the Reid and Sloan families represented by the organization), supplemented by donations from individual members of the families to a total of $885. This donation and others, large and small, will help to continue the fellowship, making it possible to support the work of faithful LDS scholars.
Final editorial work is being completed on the Fall 1995 issue of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (volume 4, number 2), which should be ready to mail soon after you receive this issue of Insights. This issue has a decidedly literary bent. Of the five major articles, three consider the topics of narrative criticism, poetic diction and parallel word pairs, and chiasmus. A fourth takes a literary view of the book of Mosiah. The rest of the issue (the fifth major article and the five contributions to the Notes and Communications section) varies much more in approach, looking at Book of Mormon topics from the perspectives of history, geography, archaeology, and doctrine. Of particular interest is William Hamblin's article examining the failure of those who reject the historicity of the Book of Mormon to respond to the increasing body of evidence and argument supporting historicity.
The table of contents of the Fall issue of the Journal as planned at the time that Insights was sent to the printer is as follows:
Thanks to the generous efforts of some student volunteers, the transcript of one of the more popular videos in the FARMS Book of Mormon Lecture Series has been translated into both German and Spanish. Daniel C. Peterson’s "A Scholar Looks at Evidences for the Book of Mormon" discusses recent research that supports the spiritual witness for the Book of Mormon, including such things as the translation process, studies of chiasmus, possible locations for events, ancient manuscripts that document practices and beliefs of past civilizations that are consistent with Book of Mormon accounts, Joseph’s supposed misnaming of Jesus’ birthplace, Joseph’s lack of formal schooling, and other items.
The translations, "Un erudito examina las evidencias para el Libro de Mormón" and "Ein Gelehrter begutachtet Beweise für das Buch Mormon," can be obtained from FARMS using the enclosed order form. FARMS appreciates the efforts of these volunteers and many others like them who contribute their time and talents unselfishly to the work of the foundation.
Watch for details in future issues of Insights.
Aspen Books has brought back into print Daniel C. Peterson’s 1992 work Abraham Divided: An LDS Perspective on the Middle East, in a revised second edition. In this book, Peterson examines the history of the peoples of the Middle East and illuminates their ancient conflicts and prophesied destinies. He reminds us that the blessings of the restored gospel are promised to people of both Jewish and Arab descent. And he tells the story of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the region.
Peterson treats such topics as the scattering of the Jews; the antagonisms between Jews and Arabs; Arabic hostility to the West; similarities between Islam, Judaism, and the restored gospel; and what the West owes the East.
The server on which the FARMS Home Page on the World Wide Web is located has suffered some crashes. We are working to find a new server on which to place the Home Page, and we should have a new address by the time the next issue of Insights is published.
In the meantime we appreciate your patience and look forward to serving you better soon.
Robert L. Millet, professor of ancient scripture and Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University, has given another lecture in the FARMS Book of Mormon Lecture Series. "Fools before God: The Evils of Pride and the Power of Humility" echoes President Ezra Taft Benson’s warning that "pride is the universal sin . . . the great stumbling block of Zion." Millet examines patterns of pride in the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, showing how pride can follow prosperity, how it manifests itself in beliefs and practices, and how it caused the downfall of many Book of Mormon peoples.
Millet also looks at examples of humility in the Book of Mormon. He discusses how humility is both antidote and inoculation against pride, drawing on Jacob’s teachings in 2 Nephi that the prideful (the learned, the rich, and others whom the Lord has blessed who are puffed up because of those blessings) must humble themselves and declare themselves "fools before God" if they hope to receive "that happiness which is prepared for the saints" (2 Nephi 9:42"43).
Rex C. Reeve Jr. has also contributed a lecture to this series. Reeve, who is an associate professor of ancient scripture at BYU, looks at one way in which the Book of Mormon is "A Book Written for Our Day." He outlines a pattern given in the Book of Mormon for enduring to the end and points out that it was given to us by ancient prophets who saw our times and recorded examples intended to help us. These prophets teach us to commit to walk the straight and narrow path. As we come to know the Savior, our love for him increases as does our desire to obey him; thus he helps us close the gap between what he wants and what we want.
These lectures, available using the enclosed order form, and other lectures in the series, listed in the FARMS catalog, bring into your home or classroom inspiring testimonies of the Book of Mormon.
Volume 13 of the series publishing the Dead Sea Scrolls, Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, published by Oxford University Press, is the first to contain full concordances of all the words in the nonbiblical texts in context. The Foreword to this volume credits FARMS with assisting in the preparation of this concordance.