Brown Bag Report
25 September 2002: BYU professors John W. Welch (law) and John F. Hall (classics) reported on projects involving the Institute’s Early Christianity Initiative. Welch spoke of a presentation he gave in Berlin to the International Society of Biblical Literature in which he showed the results of an Institute team’s digital imaging of a dozen early New Testament manuscripts. He also described imaging projects involving (1) a large collection of early manuscripts damaged during World War II (among them are eighth- and ninth-century copies of the Pauline epistles, including a rare copy of an apocryphal epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans); and (2) the Freer collection of biblical codices held in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Welch and Hall then showcased their latest publication, Charting the New Testament, a book designed to illuminate the historical and cultural backgrounds and other interesting aspects of the New Testament.
16 October: BYU associate professor Daniel C. Peterson (Islamic studies) discussed the concept of Allah, a topic he addressed in a recent article for the Encyclopedia of the Qur<an. Peterson focused on several personal observations that did not figure in the article: that distortions of Islamic belief in Allah are foisted upon the American public by top-selling books; that the Qur’an, the Ahadith (oral sayings attributed to Muhammad), and early Islamic thinkers support an anthropomorphic view of God that was expunged from later Islamic thought; that creation ex nihilo is not in the Qur’an yet is a fundamental tenet of Islam; and that Muslims do not believe in human free will because it would deny the absolute sovereignty of Allah. !