I have a few things in my way before being able to work full-time on Genesis 1– a recalcitrant article draft, some travel, volunteer work, etc. In the meantime, I’m making slow but good progress. I’m beginning to suspect the most important parts of the book will be the first two sections dealing with groundwork/assumptions and LDS entanglements with Genesis, not the last two sections on the ancient Near Eastern context or the text/translation itself.
I’m interested in a lot of things that are secondary or tertiary to the main thrust of the book, such as the history of biblical interpretation, the history of interaction between science and religion, history of science, and how other religious traditions have handled the challenges to tradition, authority, doctrine, etc. It’s terribly difficult to avoid spending too much time filling out these secondary areas, but I really can’t afford the time to read everything relevant; there is a TON of relevant scholarship. Below are a few things that are on my virtual nightstand that may be of interest, not all related to Genesis.
- Storm of Words: Science, Religion, and Evolution in the Civil War Era. Interview with the author and summary here.
- Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither?: Three Views on the Bible’s Earliest Chapters This isn’t out yet, but I read Charles Halton’s blog, which he rarely updates now.
- Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk– Jared at LDS Science Review (he’s a PhD in a hard science) brought this to my attention here.
- Michael Homer, Joseph’s Temples: The Dynamic Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism– My temple chapter will touch on the relationship with Masonry, in terms of Adaptation (which has a whole chapter in the first section, Groundwork.) This is the newest serious work on the subject, and Ben Park reviews it here.
- Kenton Sparks, God’s Word in Human Words. It’s useful to see how other traditions have integrated or adapted to critical scholarship. While Mormonism has some unique elements, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
Amazon is having a Kindle sale on some things of interest, at $2.99.
- NT Wright’s Kingdom New Testament, a modern translation with some verve to it. I like Wright a good bit.
- Bart Ehrman’s Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible. Haven’t read it, but Ehrman is a respectable NT scholar, though one who has lost his faith.
- Amy-Jill Levine’s The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus. Levine is a Jewish prof. of New Testament at Vanderbilt, and contributed significantly to, among other things, The Jewish Annotated New Testament.
- Richard Elliot Friedman’s Commentary on the Torah. The formatting is slightly odd, and the Hebrew too small to read, but I doubt that will prove a major problem to people.
- For the full list of HarperOne Religion books on Kindle sale, see here.
There is also a Kindle sale on the NIV Application Commentary Series, $4.99 each instead of $20+. As with all series, these are uneven. The approach is generally conservative and Protestant, but includes a section on bridging the gap and applying to modern life, something LDS would find quite useful. I own the Genesis volume by Walton, and Enns (another Protestant scholar I like, recently interviewed by the MI) wrote Exodus. I suspect I would not recommend the NT volumes as much, at least for Paul. Enns has a new book, The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture has Made Us Unable to Read It. Bhodges reviewed it over at BCC, and it seems to have a more jocular “appeal to laypeople” tone than his other books.
In Mormon-y reading, I have a review copy of the Givens’ Crucible of Doubt on my nightstand, which I’m slowly reading and will review within a week or so. I generally enjoy their writing, and look forward to Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought- Cosmos, God, Humanity.
I also have a review copy of John Sorenson’s magnum opus, Mormon’s Codex. This is a book you could slay a curelom with, and it’s gone slowly, in spite of my interest. Sorenson’s views on the Book of Mormon have been presented in the Ensign (part 1, part 2), and eventually published in the groundbreaking Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon. Sorenson has written about how the Ensign ended up soliciting his views and the back-and-forth wrestle with Correlation.
Samuel Brown’s First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple is a slim paperback. I’ve only made it through the introduction, but I’ll go hear Brown speak tonight at a bookstore in Arlington, VA.
Lastly, for the hard-core.
- The United Bible Society, publisher of the scholarly original-language texts, has released a Reader’s Edition of the Hebrew Bible. I’ve used this one for several years, and glad to see some competition.
- The Jewish Study Bible, often touted and referenced by me, has been updated to a 2nd edition, with more and revised footnotes, updated and expanded essays. This is on my shortlist of recommended OT books.