by Jeffrey Bradshaw
Beginning in the 1970s, a few scholars, most notably Hugh W. Nibley, began to point to evidence relating to the ancient context of the Book of Moses. However, over-enthusiastic scholars (admittedly, at times, including myself) have not always been careful in their research and sometimes have gone farther in their claims than the evidence warrants. As a result, some of the early enthusiasm for comparative studies has waned and, paralleling the course of biblical studies, the pendulum has swung to the other extreme where comparisons of scripture to the ancient world became less common.
Now the pendulum is swinging back the other way. We hope that the presentations at the conference will reflect the still increasing maturity of the field, relying on more well-defined methodologies designed to better assure the reliability of their results — avoiding the extremes of both parallelomania and parallelophobia. In addition to more well-defined methodologies, recent research has also benefitted from new discoveries and better understandings of the manuscripts and other material remains of the cultures and religious traditions of the ancient Near East.
The conference is based on the premise that significant patterns of resemblance to ancient manuscripts not available during the lifetime of Joseph Smith and of unexpected conformance to conditions imposed by an archaic setting are potential indicators of antiquity that are best explained when the essential element of divine revelation is acknowledged. [Read more…] about Interpreter Conference