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Mormon Scholarship, Apologetics, and Evangelical Neglect:
Losing the Battle and Not Knowing It?

By Carl Mosser and Paul Owen

The original version of this paper, presented presented at the 1997 Far West Regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, has been placed online - without permission - in the alt.religion.mormon newsgroup. It is archived by Google Groups (Reproduced below). [Links updated Dec. 10, 2002]

The paper has now been published in Trinity Journal (Fall '98, p179-205). Note: The Trinity Journal version includes editorial changes and additions.

» See also these other articles on this issue.

Carl Mosser is a recent graduate of Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California, where he earned masters degrees in Theology, New Testament, and Philosophy of Religion and Ethics.

Paul Owen is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he is studying in the department of New Testament language, Literature, and Theology.

A comment from the publisher of Apologetics Index:

Many Mormons have used Mosser and Owen's paper in support of LDS beliefs. However, the following comment, by Carl Mosser, should be noted:

1) We say that currently evangelicals are *needlessly* losing this battle. The Mormons have an advantage only because of evangelical neglect, not because their arguments are compelling. 2) It should be obvious that we have read as much of this stuff as anyone, probably more than even most Mormons have, and we remain unconvinced. This ought to be a little troubling to the Latter-day Saint who looks to FARMS for inspiration. We have read a good chunk of their best scholarship as charitably as we can and remain unpersuaded.


Note: This is an old version of the paper as posted (unauthorized) to a newsgroup. It is reproduced here from the Deja News archive. See above for information about the current, edited and updated version. - AWH

Losing the Battle and Not Knowing It?
Author: [Name removed by request]
Date: 1998/08/19
Message-ID: [Removed by request]
Forum: alt.religion.mormon

- An unusually frank and honest appraisal of where things stand at the moment.
I'm sure many of you have seen this, and it sounds like these guys know the
"real score." This sounds an ominous and grim tone for both sides. Reminds me
of Mormon 6:7...when the Nephites see the Lamanites come over the rise for the
final time and they realize "this is it -- live or die"... and they suspect it's
"die." -- [Initials removed by request]

Mormon Apologetic, Scholarship and Evangelical Neglect: Losing the Battle and
Not Knowing It?

Carl Mosser and Paul Owen 1997 Evangelical Theological Society Far West Annual
Meeting April 25, 1997

Introduction Spiritual warfare is a reality. Battle in the spiritual realm is
not fought with guns and tanks in the manner of the world. This is the war of
ideas that vie for men's minds. The Apostle Paul tells us that the weapons we
fight with have divine power to demolish such intellectual strongholds. Of
Christians he says that, "we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets
itself up against the knowledge of God" (II Cor. 10:5). However, to tear down
arguments entails that one must first know what the arguments are. This paper
seeks to describe the scholarly and apologetic arguments of one group which we,
as evangelicals, believe inhibit true knowledge of God. The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormonism, has, in recent years, produced a
substantial body of literature defending their beliefs. This paper does not
discuss the full range of defensive and offensive scholarship by Latter-day
Saints. Instead, we will focus our discussion upon those disciplines that fall
under the broad categories of biblical studies and church history. We choose
these two categories because of the importance they play in understanding
Christian origins and the nature of early Christianity. Both Mormonism and
evangelicalism claim to be the Church which Christ founded. Both claim to be the
heirs of New Testament Christianity. Both cannot be correct. It is then
appropriate to focus on these disciplines because knowing what the beliefs and
practices of the earliest Christians were and whether or not the Church which
Christ founded apostatized is the central issue of contention. We realize that
what we say will not be welcomed by all, especially by some in the counter-cult
movement. Some may criticize us for giving the Mormons too much credit and for
being too harsh on our fellow evangelicals. However, much like testifying
against a loved one in court, we cannot hide the facts of the matter. In this
battle the Mormons are fighting valiantly. And the evangelicals? It appears that
we may be losing the battle and not knowing it. But this is a battle we cannot
afford to lose. It is our deep hope that this paper will, in some small way,
serve to awaken members of the evangelical comnmunity to the important task at

Section A: Mormonism I. Evangelical Myths and Five Conclusions There are many
evangelical myths concerning Mormon scholarship. The first is that there are
few, if any, traditional Mormon scholars with training in fields pertinent to
evangelical-Mormon debates. This is simply false. It is a myth that when Mormons
receive training in historiography, biblical languages, theology and philosophy
they invariably abandon traditional LDS beliefs in the historicity of the Book
of Mormon and the prophethood of Joseph Smith. It is a myth that liberal Mormons
have so shaken the foundations of LDS belief that Mormonism is crumbling apart.
It is a myth that neo-orthodox Mormons have influenced the theology of their
Church to such a degree that it will soon abandon traditional emphases and
follow a path similar to the RLDS or the World-Wide Church of God.1 These are
myths based upon ignorance and selective reading. These myths must be abandoned
by responsible evangelicals.

The title of this paper reflects five conclusions we have come to concerning
Mormon-evangelical debates. The first is that there are, contrary to popular
evangelical perceptions, legitimate Mormon scholars. We use the term scholar in
its formal sense of "intellectual, erudite; skilled in intellectual
investigation; trained in ancient languages."2 Broadly, Mormon scholarship can
be divided into four categories: traditional, neo-orthodox, liberal and
cultural. We are referring to the largest and most influential of the four
categories—traditional Mormon scholars. It is a point of fact that the
Latter-day Saints are not an anti-intellectual group like Jehovah's Witnesses.
Mormons, in distinction to groups like JWs, produce work that has more than the
mere appearance of scholarship. The second conclusion we have come to is that
Mormon scholars and apologists (not all apologists are scholars) have, with
varying degrees of success, answered most of the usual evangelical criticisms.
Often these answers adequately diffuse particular (minor) criticisms. When the
criticism has not been diffused the issue has usually been made much more

A third conclusion we have come to is that currently there are, as far as we are
aware, no books from an evangelical perspective that responsibily interact with
contemporary LDS scholarly and apologetic writings.3 In a survey of twenty
recent evangelical books criticizing Mormonism we found that none interact with
this growing body of literature. Only a handful demonstrate any awareness of
pertinent works. Many of the authors promote criticisms that have long been
refuted; some are sensationalistic while others are simply ridiculous. A number
of these books claim to be "the definitive" book on the matter. That they make
no attempt to interact with contemporary LDS scholarship is a stain upon the
authors' integrity and causes one to wonder about their credibility.

Our fourth conclusion is that at the academic level evangelicals are losing the
debate with the Mormons. We are losing the battle and do not know it. In recent
years the sophistication and erudition of LDS apologetics has risen considerably
while evangelical responses have not.4 Those who have the skills necessary for
this task rarely demonstrate an interest in the issues. Often they do not even
know that there is a need. In large part this is due entirely to ignorance of
the relevant literature.

Finally, our fifth conclusion is that most involved in the counter-cult movement
lack the skills and training necessary to answer Mormon scholarly apologetic.
The need is great for trained evangelical biblical scholars, theologians,
philosophers and historians to examine and answer the growing body of literature
produced by traditional LDS scholars and apologists.

II. The Goals of Mormon Scholarship We realize that our five conclusions may be
controversial. However, having read an immense amount of the scholarly
literature published (in both LDS and non-LDS venues) by Latter-day Saint
intellectuals;5 having read a great deal of apologetic material produced by the
Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS); and having read or
examined most evangelical works on Mormonism, we feel that we are justified in
our conclusions. The scholarship of Mormon writers is often rigorous. In the
least their work warrants examination. Further, we have had a number of
opportunities to converse with several leading LDS academians. Last summer we
even spent three days at BYU attending the FARMS/BYU sponsored International
Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Because of our opportunities to interact
with LDS scholars we believe that we can (in part) see where they are coming
from and where they are headed.

So what are the LDS scholar-apologists trying to prove? In what intellectually
plausible ways are they supporting their unique scriptural canon and doctrinal
system? The main body of this paper is devoted to illustrating the answer to
this question. The Mormon goals are fairly straightforward. First, they believe
the Book of Mormon to be an ancient text written by people of Jewish lineage. A
number of studies have been done which attempt to reveal Hebraic literary
techniques, linguistic features, cultural patterns and other markers which, it
is argued, Joseph Smith would not have been capable of fabricating. Second,
Latter-day Saints believe that other ancient texts have been restored through
Joseph Smith (e.g. the books of Moses and Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price).
As a result, Mormon scholars have taken a great deal of interest in the study of
the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi
texts. The goal here is to highlight features which these ancient documents
share with their own sacred literature. Third, it is a conviction of the LDS
Church that earliest Christianity suffered substantial apostasy from the latter
first century through the end of the second century. This apostasy is usually
equated with the process of post-apostolic Hellenization. Under this theory they
maintain that the original doctrines of the ancient Church were not lost all at
once. So Latter-day Saints have taken a keen interest in the beliefs and
practices of the early post-apostolic Church. Special attention has been given
to the writings of the Patristic Fathers in an effort to demonstrate
similarities with Mormon belief and practice. These similarities are not
intended to show that the early Christians were proto-Mormons but rather that
remnants of true pre-Hellenized belief remained for a time after the apostasy.
In this regard Mormon academians (along with many non-LDS scholars) have taken
keen interest in the "parting of the ways" between Judaism and Christianity. III.
Hugh Nibley: The Father of Mormon Scholarly Apologetics Hugh Nibley is without
question the pioneer of LDS scholarship and apologetics. Since earning his Ph.D.
at the University of California at Berkeley in 1939, Nibley has produced a
seemingly endless stream of books and articles covering a dauntingly vast array
of subject matter. Whether writing on Patristics, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the
Apocrypha, the culture of the Ancient Near East or Mormonism, he demonstrates an
impressive command of the original languages, primary texts and secondary
literature. He has set a standard which younger LDS intellectuals are hard
pressed to follow. There is not room here for anything approaching an exhaustive
examination of Nibley's works.6 We must confess with Truman Madsen, Professor
Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at Brigham Young University: "To those who
know him best, and least, Hugh W. Nibley is a prodigy, an enigma, and a symbol."7

The few evangelicals who are aware of Hugh Nibley often dismiss him as a fraud
or pseudo-scholar. Those who would like to quickly dismiss his writings would do
well to heed Madsen's warning: "Ill-wishing critics have suspected over the
years that Nibley is wrenching his sources, hiding behind his footnotes, and
reading into antique languages what no responsible would ever read out.
Unfortunately, few have the tools to do the checking."8 The bulk of Nibley's
work has gone unchallenged by evangelicals despite the fact that he has been
publishing relevant material since 1946. Nibley's attitude toward evangelicals:
"We need more anti-Mormon books. They keep us on our toes."9

No doubt there are flaws in Nibley's work, but most counter-cultists do not have
the tools to demonstrate this. Few have tried.10 It is beyond the scope of this
paper to critique Nibley's methodology or to describe the breadth of his
apologetic.11 Whatever flaws may exist in his methodology, Nibley is a scholar
of high caliber. Many of his more important essays first appeared in academic
journals such as the Revue de Qumran, Vigilae Christianae, Church History, and
the Jewish Quarterly Review.12 Nibley has also received praise from non-LDS
scholars such as Jacob Neusner, James Charlesworth, Cyrus Gordon, Raphael Patai
and Jacob Milgrom.13 The former dean of the Harvard Divinity School, George
MacRae, once lamented while hearing him lecture, "It is obscene for a man to
know that much!"14 Nibley has not worked in a cloister. It is amazing that few
evangelical scholars are aware of his work. In light of the respect Nibley has
earned in the non-LDS scholarly world it is more amazing that counter-cultists
can so glibly dismiss his work.

For many years Nibley may have been conservative Mormonism's only reputable
scholar. However, due to Nibley's influence as a motivating professor, today
there are many more. During the years Nibley taught at BYU several LDS students
followed his example by going on to earn the degrees necessary to gain a hearing
in the academic community. For example, Stephen E. Robinson went on to Duke
University to earn a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies under W. D. Davies and James
Charlesworth.15 Others went in different directions: S. Kent Brown took a
doctorate from Brown University, focusing his research on the Nag Hammadi texts;
C. Wilfred Griggs received a Ph.D. in ancient history from the University of
California at Berkeley and is a specialist in early Egyptian Christianity;16
under the supervision of David Noel Freedman and Frank Moore Cross, Kent P.
Jackson took a doctorate in Near Eastern studies from the University of Michigan
after completing a dissertation on the Ammonite language;17 Avraham Gileadi
earned his Ph.D. at BYU, with R. K. Harrison serving as the primary reader of
his dissertation concerning the literary structure of Isaiah;18 Stephen D. Ricks
received a doctorate in Near Eastern Religions from the University of California
at Berkeley and Graduate Theological Union under Jacob Milgrom;19 Donald W.
Parry received his Ph.D. in Hebrew jointly from the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem and University of Utah; John Gee is currently completing a Ph.D. in
Egyptology at Yale University. Many more examples of Mormon scholars with equal
credentials could be listed. Currently another crop of traditional Mormon
intellectuals, in part funded by FARMS' Hugh Nibley Fellowships, are earning
advanced degrees from Oxford, Duke, Claremont, UCLA, University of North
Carolina – Chapel Hill, Catholic University of America, and elsewhere. Their
fields of study are quite relevant: New Testament, Syriac, Early Christianity,
Near Eastern languages and cultures, and other disciplines.

The significance of these facts is simple: Mormons have the training and skills
to produce robust defenses of their faith.

IV. The Book of Mormon: An Ancient Text? The increased sophistication of LDS
scholarly apologetic is clearly seen in their approach to the Book of Mormon.
Not only do they use scholarship to defend the Book against common criticisms;
they are attempting to place it squarely into an ancient Near Eastern
background. It is their contention that the Bookl of Mormon reflects the
culture, language and customs of ancient Semitic peoples. This reflection is
seen not only in the major story line but also in subtle and important ways
which, they argue, Joseph Smith (or anyone else living in the nineteenth
century) could not have extrapolated from the Bible.

For example, Paul Y. Hoskisson (Assistant Prof. of Ancient Scripture at BYU)
wrote an important essay entitled, "Textual Evidences for the Book of Mormon."20
Hoskisson begins his study by pointing out: "In order for material in the Book
of Mormon to be sufficient evidence for an ancient Near Eastern vorlage, as I am
using the term sufficient here, it must be demonstrated that the textual
material is ancient Near Eastern and that it was not available to Joseph
Smith."21 The point being made is that while certain features of the text could
be explained as pointing to an ancient Near Eastern origin, not all such
evidence would qualify as sufficient evidence. Thus we see an LDS scholar
attempting to establish some methodological controls for what constitutes
"proof" in the Book of Mormon debate. In his essay Hoskisson provides what he
feels are examples of sufficient evidence for an ancient Near Eastern vorlage
for the Book of Mormon. The first item of evidence examined relates to the
statement, "their souls did expand" in Alma 5:9. In context the meaning appears
to approximate "they became happy," in light of the structural parallelism with
the phrase 'they did sing redeeming love' to celebrate their freedom."22
Hoskisson points out that the King James Bible does not use the word soul in
conjunction with expand, although the Book of Mormon also speaks of the soul
enlarging and swelling in Alma 32:28 and 34 (respectively). He remarks: "This
phrase appears to be unusual. Why should a soul expand? If this phrase is unique
in English to the Book of Mormon, could the phrase reflect an ancient Near
Eastern vorlage rather than have its origin in English?"23 After pointing out a
lack of evidence for this phrase in any extant pre-1830 English source, he goes
on to point to instances of this metaphor in Ugaritic and Akkadian sources.
However, ultimately this is not found to be an example of sufficient evidence,
because the phrase "expand the soul" does occur in German, and English belongs
to the Germanic language group. Hoskisson admits: "Therefore, though the phrase
'expand the soul' does not occur in any readily available pre-1830 English text,
and though it is an authentic ancient Near Eastern Semitic phrase, because it is
attested in German, we must conclude that the phrase 'their souls did expand' is
at best necessary evidence for an authentic Near Eastern Semitic Book of Mormon
vorlage, but not sufficient evidence."24

Following this discussion, Hoskisson provides three examples of what he feels
are "sufficient" evidence: 1) the repeated use of the cognate accusative in the
Book of Mormon (e.g. 2 Nephi 5:15; Mos. 9:8; 11:13; 23:5); 2) the occurrence of
the Jewish name Alma in a land transaction found at Nahal Hever, dating from the
time of the Bar-Kochba revolt;25 and 3) the concept of the oceanic waters being
the fountain of rivers, which is typical of ancient Near Eastern thought, and
occurs in 1 Nephi 2:9. A second study that we want to look at was done by C.
Wilfred Griggs (Associate Professor of Classics, History, and Ancient Scriptures
and Director of Ancient Studies, Brigham Young University). His essay is
entitled, "The Book of Mormon as an Ancient Book."26 He begins his study by
throwing out a challenge to critics of the Book of Mormon: "It claims to be an
ancient book, and it must be examined and criticized in terms of its
claim.…Since nobody could feasibly invent a work the length of the Book of
Mormon which represented ancient Near Eastern society accurately…,subjecting the
book to the text of historical integrity would be a rather easy task for any
specialist to undertake."27 Griggs goes on to file a complaint which we would
agree is somewhat justified: "It is precisely this dimension of historical
criticism, however, which has been almost totally neglected in attempts to
establish the book as a fraud."28 As an example somewhat parallel to the Book of
Mormon, Griggs points to the 1958 discovery by Morton Smith of the purported
letter of Clement of Alexandria written to a certain Theodore. The contents of
this letter were previously unknown to the scholarly world, and there is no
mention of Theodore in any of Clement's extant writings. The date of the copy,
which was discovered in the Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem, was fairly easy
to establish at around 1750. However, after a detailed study of this document in
comparison with other ancient sources, Morton Smith concluded that this was
indeed an authentic letter of Clement. Griggs comments: "If a
two-and-a-half-page text can elicit 450 pages [the length of Morton Smith's
study] of analysis and commentary in an attempt to determine its authenticity,
one would not expect less from the scholarly world in the case of the Book of

Griggs moves on from there to an examination of the Tree of Life dream recorded
in 1 Nephi 8-15 against the backdrop of Mediterranean texts which date to
approximately Lehi's time (sixth century BC). His discussion mentions numerous
examples of religious and magical texts written on gold, silver and bronze
tablets. Of particular interest are the so-called "Orphic gold plates" which
date as early as the fifth-century BC and have been found in such scattered
areas as Italy, Greece and Crete.30 Scholars are agreed that these gold plates
demonstrate foreign influence, but have not come to a consensus as to what that
influence was. Griggs notes, however, "The influence was certainly from the
ancient Near East, even if there is no agreement on where the ideas were
originally found."31 Having noted this, the remainder of the examination
involves a comparison of the rituals connected with these plates with materials
in the Egyptian Book of the Dead and Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon, the
most feasible and plausible explanation for the internal characteristics shared
by the Book of Mormon is that seventh/sixth-century BC Egypt is the common
meetingground for the two traditions."32

There is not room here for detailed study of further examples of scholarly
defences of the Book of Mormon. But there are many more which do merit
attention. John Welch has argued for an ancient vorlage based on chiastic
structures in the Book of Mormon.33 Donald W. Parry, professor of Hebrew at BYU
and a member of the International Dead Sea Scrolls Editing Team, has published
an exhaustive study of Hebrew poetic structures in the Book of Mormon text.34
Roger R. Keller, a former Presbyterian minister armed with a Ph.D. in Biblical
Studies from Duke University, has written a monograph arguing on the basis of
distinctive word usages that the Book of Mormon cannot be the product of a
single nineteenth-century author, but rather is the product of several ancient
writers.35 John Tvedtnes, senior project manager for FARMS, has written
technical studies on Hebraisms and Isaiah variants in the Book of Mormon.36
Several studies involving form-critical analysis also require some attention.
Stephen D. Ricks, Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages at BYU, has written
a detailed article discussing King Benjamin's coronation in Mosiah 1-6 against
the backdrop of ancient Near Eastern treaty literature.37 Blake T. Ostler has
examined the account of Lehi's vision in 1 Nephi 1 against the backdrop of the
"call form" in similar theophanies in the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament
Pseudepigrapha.38 There are many more studies which could be mentioned, but this
should suffice to demonstrate that LDS academicians are producing serious
research which desperately needs to be critically examined from an informed
evangelical perspective.

V. The Dead Sea Scrolls, Pseudepigrapha, and the Pearl of Great Price Biblical
scholars are well aware of the impact which the discoveries at Qumran and
adjacent vicinities have had on both Old and New Tesatment studies.39 The Dead
Sea Scrolls have greatly enhanced our understanding of Old Testament textual
criticism, Aramaic backgrounds to the New Testament and the complexity of the
various Judaisms which existed in first-century Palestine. It would be hard to
overestimate the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls research for understanding
the Bible.

Recently Mormon scholars have come to the forefront of Dead Sea Scrolls
research. FARMS and BYU regularly sponsor international conferences on the
Scrolls in Israel or the U.S. attended by world-renowned scholars. At least five
[sic] Latter-day Saints are on the International Dead Sea Scrolls Editing Team
headed by Emmanuel Tov.40 The work of Latter-day Saints on the Scrolls is
readily accepted by the larger academic community and they are often asked to
collaborate, contribute or edit books with non-LDS scholars.41 Mormon interest
in the Scrolls is not limited to mere curiosity. They use the fruits of their
research to promote their faith.42 Mormons have taken a keen interest in the
scrolls for several reasons. Foremost among these, they want to support a
portrait of early Christianity which is firmly rooted in apocalyptic Judaism.
Nibley writes that "this common tradition was not that of conventional Judaism,
let alone Hellenistic philosophy; it was the ancient tradition of the righteous
few who flee to the desert with their wives and children to prepare for the
coming of the Lord and escape persecution at the hands of the official
religion."43 Nibley feels that there is a line of continuity between the desert
sectarians represented by Lehi and his family (cf. 1 Nephi 2), the community at
Qumran, earliest Christianity, and second-century gnosticism. The argument being
put forth is not that the Qumran Essenes were proto-Mormons, but simply that
Mormonism has more in common with the apocalyptic belief system represented at
Qumran than with that of Hellenized Christianity. Nibley continues: "Now with
the discovery and admission of the existence of typical New Testament
expressions, doctrines, and ordinances well before the time of Christ, the one
effective argument against the Book of Mormon collapses."44 Elsewhere he points
to ten parallels between the Qumran literature and the Book of Mormon. The tenth
example is given as follows: "For the first time we now learn of the ancient
Jewish background of (1) the theological language of the New Testament and
Christian apocrypha, (2) their eschatological doctrines, and (3) their
organizational and liturgical institutions. All three receive their fullest
exposition in 3 Nephi, where the Messiah himself comes and organizes his church
on the foundations already laid for it."45 Nibley is not alone in pointing out
parallels between the Qumran texts and Mormon scripture. William J. Hamblin
complains that "the critics [of Mormonism] have never explained why we find
close linguistic and literary parallels between the figure Mahujah in Dead Sea
Scrolls Aramaic fragments of the Book of Enoch and Mahijah questioning Enoch in
the book of Moses (Moses 6:40)." 46 their community was led by a council of
twelve men with three governing priests, they had sacred meals of bread and wine
administered by priests,49 and they believed in continuing revelation through a
prophetic leader. He writes, "All of this leads to the conclusion that in many
ways the Essenes may have been closer to the [Mormon] gospel than other Jewish
sects."50 As with defenses of the Book of Mormon, more examples could be listed.
In light of the growing participation of LDS scholars in Scrolls research we can
be sure that many more will be brought to our attention.

Mormon scholars also have a related interest in the Old Testament
pseudepigrapha. Their involvement in pseudepigraphal studies can be seen in the
two volume Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth.51 The
dust jacket of the work states: "Scholars, Bible students, professionals of all
religious groups and denominations, and lay people—indeed, all those who can be
signified as 'People of the Book,' Christians, Jews, Mormons, Muslims—will be
interested in these translations."52 The editor's preface contains a thanks to
Brigham Young University's Religious Studies Center for their partial funding of
the project. Stephen E. Robinson, a student of Charlesworth's, was responsible
for the translation and commentary of the Apocryphon of Ezekiel, the Testament
of Adam and 4 Baruch.53

Whereas LDS interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls is primarily related to the desire
to root earliest Christianity in the soil of apocalyptic Judaism, the
pseudepigrapha offer more specific points of contact between LDS scriptures and
various ancient sources. The Mormons are not generally trying to say that
genetic literary relationships exist between these texts, but rather that there
are significant conceptual parallels which point to an ancient milieu for the
Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price.

In a panel discussion a question was asked concerning connections between Mormon
scriptures and ancient sources such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Pseudepigrapha
and the Nag Hammadi texts. In answer S. Kent Brown pointed to two main areas.
First of all, there are points of contact with regard to interest in key
personalities: Adam (Moses 6:45-68; cf. Life of Giants fragments, and the
Ethiopic, Slavonic and Hebrew books of Enoch), Melchizedek (Alma 13:14-19; cf.
11Q Melchizedek and the Nag Hammadi Melchizedek work), Abraham (Book of Abraham;
cf. The Testament of Abraham and Apocalypse of Abraham), and Joseph (2 Nephi
3:5-21; cf. Testament of Joseph). Second, there are parallels in terms of key
themes such as the Creation account (Moses 3:21-5:21; cf. 4 Ezra 6:38-54 and the
Gnostic, On the Origin of the World and the Hypostasis of the Archons), the
notion of a pre-mortal existence of souls (Abraham 3:18-28; cf. the Apocryphon
of James and the Gospel of Thomas, saying 4), and the idea of an eschatological
restoration following a period of apostasy (cf. The Apocalypse of Peter in the
Nag Hammadi library).54

Space does not permit an extended discussion of LDS use of the Old Testament
Pseudepigrapha, the New Testament Apocrypha and the Nag Hammadi texts.55
However, several studies deserve mention. Hugh Nibley wrote a book-length work
on the extant Enoch literature.56 Stephen E. Robinson, in a very sober article,
makes several interesting points: Paul's apparent use of the Wisdom of Solomon,
which teaches the premortal existence of souls (8:19 ff.) and the creation of
the world out of unformed matter (11:17); the Narrative of Zosimus (also known
as History of the Rechabites) which contains an interesting tradition about Jews
leaving Jerusalem in Jeremiah's time, and travelling across the ocean to a land
of promise;57 the Testament of Adam (3:1-5), which contains an account similar
to what is found in Doctrine and Covenants 107:53-56; and the Gospel of Philip,
which describes a three-stage initiation rite which corresponds to the three
chambers of the Jerusalem temple.58 In another interesting study, S. Kent Brown
compares the titles Man of Holiness and Man of Counsel in Moses 6:57 and 7:35
with material in the Hebrew Bible and two later documents, Eugnostos the Blessed
and The Sophia of Jesus Christ.59

LDS writers are not alone in noting various parallels between these ancient
texts and Mormon literature. James H. Charlesworth, in a lecture delivered at
Brigham Young University entitled, "Messianism in the Pseudepigrapha and the
Book of Mormon," points to what he describes as "important parallels…that
deserve careful examination." He cites examples from 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, Psalms of
Solomon and the Testament of Adam.60 If the world's leading authority on ancient
pseudepigraphal writings thinks such examples deserve "careful examination," it
might be wise for evangelicals to do some examining. George Nickelsburg has also
noted a rather interesting parallel between the Qumranic Book of the Giants and
the LDS Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price.61 Yale's Harold Bloom is
perplexed as how to explain the many parallels between Joseph Smith's writings
and ancient apocalyptic, pseudepigraphal, and kabbalistic literature. He writes,
"Smith's religious genius always manifested itself through what might be termed
his charismatic accuracy, his sure sense of relevance that governed biblical and
Mormon parallels. I can only attribute to his genius or daemon his uncanny
recovery of elements in ancient Jewish theurgy that had ceased to be available
to normative Judaism or to Christianity, and that had survived only in esoteric
traditions unlikely to have touched Smith directly."62

VI. Mormonism and Earliest Christianity: Evidence of an Apostasy? It is a
central tenet of Mormonism that the original Church established by Christ
apostatized. Latter-day Saint scholars (among others) contend that the Church of
the post-apostolic period differed substantially from earliest Christianity. In
this Mormon scholars have, in large part, adopted the views of Adolph Harnack
and Walter Bauer.63 The spirit of apostasy and the increasing influence of
Hellenization contirbuted to a spiritual and doctrinal decline in the second and
third centuries. According to this thesis, the result was that early
Christianity, rooted in apocalyptic Judaism, was transformed into a synthetic
blend of "Christianity" and pagan Platonic philosophy. The process of
Hellenization was so severe that it literally killed the religion Christ founded
and replaced it with something else. Stephen E. Robinson summarizes his view
when he writes: Essentially, what happened is that we have good sources for New
Testament Christianity (the New Testament documents themselves); then the lights
go out (that is, we have very few historical sources), and in the dark we hear
the muffled sounds of a great struggle. When the lights come on again a hundred
or so years later, we find that someone has rearranged all the furniture and
that Christianity is something very different from what it was in the beginning.
That different entity can be accurately described by the term hellenized

Mormons have written several studies in this area.65 As usual, Hugh Nibley led
the way.66 He began with a book published under the title, The World and the
Prophets. This book is the edited transcript from a series of talks originally
delivered to an LDS radio audience between March 7 and October 17, 1954
entitled, "Time Vindicates the Prophets."67 In this book, according to the
foreword by R. Douglas Phillips, Nibley "describes with great clarity the
process by which the Church changed from an organization with inspired prophets
into a thoroughly different and alien institution built upon the learning of
men. he shows how prophets were replaced by scholars, revelation by philosophy,
inspired preaching by rhetoric."68 Whatever one may think about Nibley's
conclusions, the breadth of learning displayed in these lectures is, frankly,
intimidating. In them he discusses hundreds of passages from Papias, Clement,
Ignatius, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origin, Athanasius, Augustine, and
Chrysostom (among others). In classic Nibley style all references are personally
translated from the Greek and Latin originals.

Mormon intellectuals do not confine their reconstruction of early Christian
history to Latter-day Saint audiences. In an attempt to reach a wider academic
audience C. Wilfred Griggs has published a book-length history of early Egyptian
Christianity with E.J. Brill.69 By its frequent bibliographic listing in
standard church history reference books it appears that Griggs' work has been
received favourably.70 Though in no way an explicit apologetic for Mormonism,
this book lends much support to the LDS thesis. In it he argues that earliest
Christianity, as it was introduced to Egypt in the first century, was not the
same species that was later identified as "orthodox." Griggs declares that "a
radical bifurcation of Christianity into orthodoxy and heresy cannot be shown to
have existed in Egypt during the first two centuries."71 His study of many early
Christian and Gnostic papyri found in Egypt during the last hundred and fifty
years leads Griggs to agree with Bauer's main thesis.72 That is, certain
manifestations of Christianity which the Church later renounced as heresies
"originally had not been such at all, but at least here and there, were only the
form of the new religion—that is, for those regions they were simply
'Christianity.'"73 What later heresiologists like Irenaeus identified as
"gnosticism" in Egypt was simply "Christianity" to the Egyptians.74

Griggs portrays a version of early Christianity quite different from the nascent
Catholicism which later developed into "orthodoxy." This version had a more
extensive literary tradition, broader theological tendencies, and more esoteric
ritual practice.75 He maintains that the archaeological evidence points to a
version of Christianity "based on a literary tradition encompassing both
canonical and non-canonical works (both categories being named as such here in
light of their later status as defined by the Catholic tradition).…Egyptian
Christians did accept the Apocalyptic literary tradition so notably rejected by
the Western Church, especially as reflected in the Resurrection Ministry texts,
but not at the expense of the gospel or epistolary tradition of the emerging
Catholic Church."76 This version of Christianity thrived in the Nile Valley for
quite some time.77 Its demise began at the end of the second century with the
Bishop of Alexandria being influenced by Irenaeus' Against Heresies. The Bishop
and his successors, in a vie for prestige, increasingly aligned themselves wtih
the powerful "orthodox" episcopates. As the power of the Alexandrian episcopate
extended over greater geographical area the original apocalyptic form of
Christianity was increasingly condemned as heretical. When the Alexandrian
bishops finally held ecclesiastical power for all Egypt, rival versions of
Christianity were systematically wiped out.78 The correspondence with the LDS
doctrine of apostasy should be obvious.79 As well as arguing for a radical
Hellenization of Christianity, LDS scholars find many parallels between early
Christianity and particular LDS practices and doctrines.80 For example, William
J. Hamblin has written a detailed study comparing Latter-day Saint temple
endowment ceremonies with materials known from certain Gnostic sources and the
so-called Secret Gospel of Mark. Hamblin argues, in agreement with Morton Smith,
John Dominic Crossan, and Hans-Martin Schenke, that the Secret Gospel of Mark
preserves material which pre-dates canonical Mark. Hamblin notes: "Before the
recent discovery of Clement's letter it had usually been maintained by modern
scholars that the theologians of Alexandrian Christianity were influenced by
Gnostic and Hellenistic concepts. The new letter of Clement shows that the Great
Mysteries and Hierophantic Teaching were not copied by the Alexandrians from the
Gnostics or Greek Pagans, but, as maintained by Schenke, were part of the
earliest ideas and practices of Alexandrian Christianity."81 He moves from there
to a discussion of esoteric rites which we know of from the Nag Hammadi library
and the writings of Irenaeus, noting twelve parallels with the LDS temple
endowment which he feels are significant.82

Another example comes from David L. Paulsen's article in the Harvard Theological
Review entitled, "Early Christian Belief in a Corporeal Deity: Origen and
Augustine as Reluctant Witnesses." Paulsen's study begins by appealing to
Harnack for support of the view that the second-century Church replaced the
personal God of the Bible with an incorporeal deity due to the influence of
Platonism. Paulsen writes, "Harnack identifies several sources of early
Christian belief in an embodied deity, including popular religious ideas, Stoic
metaphysics, and Old Testament sayings, literally understood.…But no doubt the
biblical writings contributed most significantly to early Christian
corporealism; for therein God is described in decidedly anthropomorphic terms."
The remainder of Paulsen's article contains a discussion of certain polemical
writings of Origen and passages from Augustine which indicate that it was common
for Christians in their day to view God as an embodied deity (though Origen and
Augustine did not).83

VII. Where is the Bible? In response to the topics we have been discussing one
might assert that they are simply irrelevant to the issue at hand. After all, if
Mormons cannot ground their beliefs in the Bible it does not matter whether or
not they find support for them among the Dead Sea Scrolls, pseudepigrapha, or
church history. Without the Bible it does not matter whether they are using
their expertise in Near Eastern history, cultures and languages to defend a
possible Near Eastern background for the Book of Mormon. We agree that there is
truth in this objection. But, the issues are not so simple that they can be
dismissed in this way.

One of the fundamental issues debated by evangelicals and Mormons is the
interpretation of the Bible itself. Both parties claim that the Bible is the
Word of God. Both claim to believe every verse of the Bible.84 Both parties
claim biblical support for their religion. So, theoretically, much of the debate
could be solved by an appeal to the Bible. But before this can be done there
must be agreement on the hermeneutical ground rules. It seems that in large part
evangelicals and Mormons are agreed that the Bible should be interpreted
according to its grammatical-historical sense. Writing about the similarity of
evangelical and LDS views on the nature of Scripture, Stephen E. Robinson says,
"We [LDS] take the Scriptures to be literally true, we hold symbolic, figurative
or allegorical interpretation to a minimum, accepting the miraculous events as
historical and the moral and ethical teaching as binding and valid."85 This
statement is very close to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics.86 The
question then is not one of methodology.

Logically then, what must be established in Mormon-evangelical dialogues is the
historical-cultural context in which the biblical texts were written. This is
exactly what the Mormons are doing in their studies of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the
pseudepigrapha and Christian origins. They are building the contextual
superstructure necessary for a proper interpretation of the Bible, particularly
the New Testament. They are arranging the evidence in a manner that will, if
flaws are not demonstrated, warrant an interpretation of the New Testament that
is both historically-culturally based and at odds with evangelical theology.

Though most energies are being spent in the study of these other areas, Mormons
have not neglected biblical studies proper. An example that should have made
evangelical Old Testament scholars aware of their LDS counterparts was the
festschrift written in honour of R. K. Harrison. Produced in 1988 by an
evangelical publishing house, Israel's Apostasy and Restoration contained essays
by several leading evangelical scholars as well as three essays written by
Mormons (among others). The voluyme was edited by none other than Avraham
Gileadi.87 And how does the scholarship of the LDS authors fare in comparison?
Their essays in no way stand out as inferior.88 In fact, at least one
evangelical theologian has quoted in agreement from these essays in his own
writing.89 It strikes us as unusual that no evangelical scholars thought it was
odd for Mormons to edit and contribute to this book. It would seem that someone
would have investigated to see if these Mormons were using their skills in
defence of their faith. As it turns out this book itself does, in very subtle
ways, support Mormonism. First, all three of the LDS essays lend support to some
aspect of LDS theology.90 Second, the theme of the book and its title reflect
the Mormon belief that human history is a series of apostasies from and
restorations of true faith (the last being Joseph Smith's Restoration of the

It seems that there exists an unfounded presupposition among evangelicals that
there are no respectable LDS biblical scholars. This often blinds people from
noticing the work LDS scholars have done. Yet, as with the above mentioned
theologian, evangelicals quote Mormon scholars for support more than they know.
This is not to say that the practice is wrong per se (it's not), or that Mormon
scholars might not sometimes make valid points. (There is an analogy here with
evangelical quotation of liberal, Catholic or Jewish scholars.) The point we
want to make is this: It is inconsistent for evangelicals to insist that
heterodox groups like the Mormons have no legitimate biblical scholars, and then
utilize the very scholars whose existence they deny.91

As with the Book of Mormon, DSS and pseudepigrapha we could describe several
examples of LDS biblical scholarship, but space does not permit. In a fuller
treatment of the subject we might describe, in addition to the above, the work
LDS have done on biblical law,92 chiastic structures,93 the role of magic in the
Old Testament,94 the unity of Isaiah,95 Pauline theology96 as well as others.97
Suffice it to say that responsible LDS scholars tend not to participate in the
naive prooftexting that characterizes the average Mormon missionary or lay

Section B: Evangelicalism 1. Where are the Evangelicals? We hope by this point we
have convinced some of our readers that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints is currently producing a robust apologetic for their beliefs. Their
scholars are qualified, ambitious, and prolific. What are we doing in response?
The silence has become deafening. And it is getting louder. The only two
significant attempts (apart from the Tanners) are one article by James White and
a recent book by Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon.

The article by James White, "Of Cities and Swords: The Impossible Task of Mormon
Apologetics," was an attempt to introduce evangelicals to LDS apologetics, to
the work of FARMS, and, in the process, critique the group.99 This article
failed on all three points. White's article does not mention a single example of
the literature we have presented in this paper. He does not accurately describe
the work of FARMS, or of LDS scholarship in general. He gives his readers the
mistaken impression that their research is not respected in the broader academic
community. We believe that we have demonstrated that this is simply not the
case. His attempted critique picks out two of the weakest examples. Not only
does he pick weak examples, he does not give even these an adequate critique.
This is nothing more than "straw man" argumentation.

The book by John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Behind the Mask of Mormonism: From
Its Early Schemes to Its Modern Deceptions, is far worse.100 We have read a
great deal of evangelical literature on the subject. This book, in our
estimation, is among the ugliest, most unchristian, and misleading polemics in
print. The authors constantly belittle their opponents—always questioning either
their intelligence or integrity. Particularly frustrating is the appendix which
was added to the updated edition. They accuse Mormons of being unwilling "to
consider the established theological, textual, historical, and archaeological
facts surrounding Mormonism and Christianity."101 The fact of the matter is that
it is our evangelical brothers who in this book display their own unwillingness
to give any consideration to such issues.102 Nor do they intend to. They write:
It's not that evangelicals have an objection to evaluating all the arguments and
scholarship cited by Mormon critics. Some Mormon apologists think that all
critics of Mormonism should spend thousands of dollars and man-hours [like the
Mormons are doing?] in order to stay abreast of the latest in Mormon defensive
scholarship in its numerous forms and offshoots.…Anyone familiar with the Bible
and Christian history knows that biblical, orthodox, Christian doctrine is
established and documented. For Mormonism to claim Christian doctrine is false,
it must first provide at least some evidence to support its charges.103

It is amazing, in light of the massive amount of purported evidence that has
been published by the LDS, that they could make such a statement. Not only do
they appear to assume that Mormon scholars must not really be "familiar with the
Bible and Christian history," but they seem to say that there is no need to
spend any significant amount of time or resources to respond. In our opinion the
views expressed here simply amount to a refusal to do serious scholarly
investigation. It is either the result of apathy or inability. The most they are
able to do is offer an enthusiastic endorsement of Brent Lee Metcalfe's
anthology, New Approaches to the Book of Mormon, and pronounce the battle

II. What Needs to be Done: Some Proposals The evangelical world needs to wake up
and respond to contemporary Mormon scholarship. If not, we will lose the battle
without ever knowing it. Our suggestions are as follows: First, evangelicals
need to overcome inaccurate presuppositions about Mormonism. Second, evangelical
counter-cultists need to refer LDS scholarship that is beyond their ability to
rebut, to qualified persons. Third, evangelical academicians need to make
Mormonism, or some aspects of it, an area of professional interest. Fourth,
evangelical publishers need to cease publishing works that are uninformed,
misleading or otherwise inadequate. Fifth, scholars in the evangelical community
ought to collaborate in several books addressing the issues raised in this
paper. Related to this, professional journals should encoruage articles on these
same topics. Finally, might we suggest that members of organizations such as the
Evangelical Theological Society consider forming Mormonism Study Groups. The
fact is that the growth of Mormonism is outpacing even the highest predictions
of professional sociologists of religion, and is on its way, within eighty
years, to becoming the first world-religion since Islam in the seventh
century.105 With such growth, the needs expressed in this paper will become ever
more pressing as the twenty-first century approaches.

Conclusion The sentiments we have tried to express in this paper are fittingly
stated in the words of one prominent evangelical theologian with which we will

This spiritual warfare can be considered under the aegis of a contest of the
gods, a neglected biblical theme I want to retrieve.…The various religions and
their gods appear to be vying for people's allegiance. Competition in religion
is not only biblical, it is empirically evident. Vital religions always compete
with other's claims. If you can find a religion that is not competitive, you
will have found a religion on its last legs. A dynamic religion always wants to
tell its story, which adherents think is the best story ever told and the one
most worthy of commitment.

According to the Bible, history is the theater of a contest of the gods. Gods
are in conflict with one another. There operates a kind of survival of the
fittest among them. Some go down to defeat, while others move into
ascendancy.…History is a graveyard of the gods. The living God will outlive them
all, proving himself to be the true God. Since this moment of revelation comes
at the end of history, and will not be clear to everyone until then, our
missionary task in the meantime is testing the proposition concerning God's
identity and conducting the contest. We say: let the claims be made, let the
information be shared, let the issues be weighed, and let dialogue take
place.106 ___________________________________ 1. This is not to say that there
have been no important shifts in Latter-day Saint theology. Most notably,
Latter-day Saints are emphasizing the role of grace in salvation, the person of
Christ, and the centrality of the Book of Mormon in formulating doctrine. It is
this last emphasis which insures that Mormonism will not completely abandon its
historic distinctives.

2. Cf. The Oxford English Dictionary 2nd ed., s.v. "scholar" & "scholarly." Of
course, a scholarly method does not guarantee correct conclusions.

3. Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Answering Mormon Scholars 2 Vols. (Salt Lake City:
Utah Light House Ministry, 1994, 1996) might appear to be an exception. However,
this work is primarily an answer to several reviews of their books that appeared
in the Review of Books on the Book of Mormon. The Tanners are keen students of
Mormon history, but do not have the skills necessary for a full-scale rebuttal
of Mormon scholarship. The one true exception is Francis J. Beckwith and Stephen
E. Parrish, The Mormon Concept of God: A Philosophical Analysis (Lewiston, NY:
Edwin Mellen Press, 1991). The focus of this book is quite narrow. It is also
difficult to obtain. For LDS reviews see David L. Paulsen and Blake T. Ostler in
Philosophy of Religion 35 (1994): 118-120; James E. Faulconer in BYU Studies
(Fall 1992): 185-195; and especially Blake T. Ostler in FARMS Review of Books 8
no. 2 (1996): 99-146.

4. Again, on their limited topic, Beckwith and Parrish are the lone exception.

5. Most LDS intellectuals are affiliated with Brigham Young Universities or one
of its daughter campuses. However, this summary statement includes a few LDS
scholars who teach at non-LDS colleges and universities. Philip L. Barlow, Th.D.
(Harvard) is an example of a Mormon scholar who teaches at a non-Mormon
institution. He teaches in the department of theology at Hanover College

6. FARMS is currently working on a twenty volume collection of Nibley's works,
ten of which are already published (abbr. CWHN).

7. Truman Madsen, foreword to Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless: Classic
Essays of Hugh W. Nibley, edited by Madsen (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center,
1978), ix.

8. Ibid., xiv.

9. Quoted by Madsen, ibid., xi.

10. In fact, the only substantial evangelical interaction we have seen to date
is James White's 56 page (single spaced) disputation of the proper syntax of the
pronoun authV in Matthew 16:18. This paper can be acquired from the Alpha &
Omega Ministries Internet site.

11. For a sharp critique of Nibley's methodology from an LDS perspective see
Kent P. Jackson in BYU Studies 28 no. 4 (Fall 1988): 114-119.

12. Specific references can be found in John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks,
eds., By Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley (Salt Lake
City: Deseret Book Co. and FARMS, 1990), lxviii-lxxxvii.

13. See the contributions by these men in volume one of Nibley's festschrift By
Study and Also by Faith.

14. See Philip L. Barlow, Mormons and the Bible (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1991), 147 n. 105.

15. Robinson's dissertation was published as The Testament of Adam: An
Examination of the Syriac and Greek Traditions (SBL Dissertation Series; Chico,
CA: Scholars Press, 1982). Other works include: "The Apocryphal Story of
Melchizedek," Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic and
Roman Period 18 (June 1987): 26-39; "The Testament of Adam and the Angelic
Liturgy [4QsirSabb]," Revue de Qumran 12 (1985): 105-110; "The Testament of
Adam: An Updated Arbeitsbericht," Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 5
(October, 1989): 95-100. He has also contributed to the Anchor Bible Dictionary
and the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.

16. See C. Wilfred Grigs, Early Egyptian Christianity: From Its Origins to 451
C.E., Coptic Studies Series, ec. Martin Krause, no. 2 (New York: E. J. Brill,
1990). This book will be discussed below.

17. Kent P. Jackson, The Ammonite Language of the Iron Age (Harvard Semitic
Monographs; Chico: Scholars Press, 1983).

18. For one example of his work on Isaiah see Avraham Gileadi, The Literary
Message of Isaiah (New York: Hebraeus Press, 1994). It is significant that this
book received endorsements from professors David Noel Freedman and the late R.
K. Harrison.

19. For an example of Ricks' expertise with Semitic languages, see his Lexicon
of Inscriptional Qatabanian (Rome: Editrice Pontificio Instituto Biblico, 1989).

20. Paul Y. Hoskisson, "Textual Evidences for the Book of Mormon," in The Book
of Mormon: First Nephi, The Doctrinal Foundation, ed. Monte S. Nyman and Charles
D. Tate, Jr. (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Centre, 1988), 283-95.

21. Ibid., 283.

22. Ibid., 284-85.

23. Ibid.

24. Ibid., 287.

25. Hoskisson notes: "Since the publication of the Book of Mormon, other West
Semitic names ending with aleph have turned up, indicating that the terminal
aleph in Alma is not unique to this name" (p. 294 n. 29). In support he cites a
study by fellow Latter-day Saint Kent P. Jackson published in a festschrift in
honour of David Noel Freedman: Kent P. Jackson, "Ammonite Personal Names in the
Context of the West Semitic Onomasticon," in The Word of the Lord Shall Go
Forth: Essays in Honor of David Noel Freedman in Celebration of His Sixtieth
Birthday ed. Carol L. Meyers and M. O'Connor (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns,
1983), 507-21. Also, Hoskisson, "An Introduction to the Relevance of and a
Methodology for a Study of the Proper Names in the Book of Mormon," in By Study
and Also by Faith, 2:126-35.

26. C. Wilfred Griggs, "The Book of Mormon as an Ancient Book," in Book of
Mormon Authoriship: New Light on Ancient Origins, ed. Noel B. Reynolds (Provo:
BYU Religious Studies Center, 1982), 75-101.

27. Ibid., 77.

28. Ibid.

29. Ibid., 78.

30. Ibid., 81.

31. Ibid., 82.

32. Ibid., 91.

33. See John W. Welch, "Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon," in Book of Mormon
Authorship, 33-52; J. W. Welch, ed., Chiasmus in Antiquity, with a foreword by
David Noel Freedman (Hildesheim: Gerstenberg Verlag, 1981); J. W. Welch,
"Criteria for Identifying and Evaluating the Presence of Chiasmus," Journal of
Book of Mormon Studies Vol. 4, no. 2 (Fall 1995): 1-14. On the ritual context of
the Book of Mormon see J. W. Welch, The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on
the Mount (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. and FARMS, 1990).

34. Donald W. Parry, The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted according to
Parallelistic Patterns (Provo: FARMS, 1992).

35. Roger R. Keller, Book of Mormon Authors: Their Words and Messages (Provo:
BYU Religious Studies Center, 1996).

36. See John Tvedtnes, "The Hebrew Background of the Book of Mormon," in
Rediscovering the Book of Mormon ed. John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt
Lake City: Deseret Book Co. and FARMS, 1991), 77-91; idem, "Isaiah Variants in
the Book of Mormon," in Isaiah and the Prophets ed. Monte S. Nyman (Provo: BYU
Religious Studies Center, 1984), 165-77.

37. Stephen D. Ricks, "The Treaty/Covenant Pattern in King Benjamin's Address
(Mosiah 1-6)," BYU Studies (Spring 1984): 151-62.

38. Blake T. Ostler, "The Throne-Theophany and Prophetic Commission in 1 Nephi:
A Form-Critical Analysis," BYU Studies (Fall 1986): 67-87.

39. See for example Joseph Fitzmyer, "The Qumran Scrolls and the New Testament
after Forty Years," Revue de Qumran Tome 13 (October 1988): 609-620.

40. Donald W. Parry, Andrew Skinner, Dana M. Pike, Stephen J. Pfann [sic] and
David Rolph Seely.

41. See Florentino Garcia Martinez and Donald W. Parry [LDS], eds. A
Bibliography of the Finds in the Desert of Judah, 1970-1995 (New York: E. J.
Brill, 1996); Emmanuel Tov, Stephen J. Pfann [LDS {sic}], eds. The Dead Sea
Scrolls on Microfiche (Israel Antiquities Authority, 1993); idem, Companion
Volume to the Dead Sea Scrolls on Microfiche Edition (Israel Antiquities
Authority, 1995); Donald W. Parry [LDS], "Retelling Samuel: Echoes of the Books
of Samuel in the Dead Sea Scrolls," Revue de Qumran Tome 17 (1996): 293-306;
Stephen J. Pfann [LDS {sic}], "4QDaniel" (4Q115): a Preliminary Edition with
Critical Notes," Revue de Qumran Tome 17 (1996): 37-72; David Rolph Seely [LDS],
"The 'Circumcised Heart' in r!434 Barki Nafshi," Revue de Qumran Tome 17 (1996):
527-536; Dana M. Pike [LDS], "The 'Congregation of YHWH' in the bible and at
Qumran," Revue de Qumran Tome 17 (1996); 233-240; Andrew Skinner [LDS] and Dana
M. Pike [LDS], eds., Discoveries in the Judean Desert XXXIII (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, forthcoming); Donald W. Parry [LDS] and Stephen D. Ricks [LDS], eds.,
Current Research and Technological Developments on the Dead Sea Scrolls (New
York: E. J. Brill, 1996). From this volume see: Donald W. Parry [LDS], "4Qsama
and the Tetragrammaton" (pp. 106-125); Dana M. Pike [LDS], "The Book of Numbers
at Qumran: Texts and Context" (pp. 166-194); David Rolph Seely [LDS], "The Barki
Nafshi Texts (4Q434-439)" (pp. 194-214); Scott R. Woodward [LDS], and others,
"Analysis of Parchment Fragments from the Judean Desert Using DNA Techniques"
(pp. 215-238); Donald W. Parry [LDS] and Steven W. Booras [LDS], "The Dead Sea
Scrolls CD-ROM Database Project" (pp. 239-250). This last essay describes the
groundbreaking computer dftabase Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Reference Library
Vol. II produced by FARMS and BYU. Additional collaborators to the project
include the Oxford University Press, E.J. Brill, Israel Antiquities Authority
and the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center.

42. LDS interest in the scrolls can be seen in research projects such as Robert
A. Cloward, The Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha and the Dead Sea
Scrolls: A Selected Bibliography of Text Additions and English Translations
(Robert A. Cloward, 1988, available from FARMS); and further Donald W. Parry and
Dana M. Pike, eds., LDS Perspectives on the Dead Sea Scrolls (Provo: FARMS,
forthcoming). In personal conversations Mormon scholars have described the
following as extremely poor examples of LDS usage of the scrolls: Vernon W.
Mattson, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Important Discoveries 2nd edition (Salt
Lake City: Buried Record Productions, 1979); Eugene Seaich, Mormonism, the Dead
Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Texts (Midvale, UT: Sounds of Zion, 1980); Keith
Terry and Steve Biddulph, Dead Sea Scrolls and the Mormon Connection (Maasai:
1996). We concur that there is a vast qualitative difference between these
writings and those mentioned above. However, these last examples do illustrate
the fact that Mormon interest in the scrolls is growing at a popular level.
Editions of the DSS are readily available for laymen to buy in most LDS

43. Hugh W. Nibley, "More Voices from the Dust," in Old Testament and Related
Studies CWHN vol. 1 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. and FARMS, 1986), 243.

44. Nibley, "More Voices," 242.

45. Nibley, "The Dead Sea Scrolls: Some Questions and Answers," in Old Testament
and Related Studies, 250.

46. William J. Hamblin, "An Apologist for the Critics: Brent Lee Metcalfe's
Assumptions and Methodologies," Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6 no. 1
(1994): 484-485. Hamblin is referring to the Book of the Giants fragments rQ203,
rQ530 and 6Q8. For an extended discussion of this and other parallels see Hugh
W. Nibley, "Churches in the Wilderness," in Nibley on the Timely and the
Timeless ed. Truman G. Madsen (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1978):

47. Gaye Strathearn, "The Wife/Sister Experience: Pharaoh's Introduction to
Jehovah," in Thy People Shall be My People and Thy God My God ed. Paul Y.
Hoskisson (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994). The article contains an
extended discussion of these and other texts.

48. This is thought to be significant because it is an example of Jews baptizing
by immersion before the New Testament, thus showing the practice in the Book of
Mormon not to be anachronistic.

49. The point here is to illustrate distinctively Christian ordinance with roots
in pre-Christian Judaism.

50. Stephen E. Robinson, "Background for the Testaments," The Ensign (December

51. James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (New York:
Doubleday, 1985).

52. Emphasis added. Notice how Mormonism is listed with three of the great world
religions. See note 105 below.

53. See OTP, 1:487-495; 1:989-995; 2:413-417.

54. See S. Kent Brown and others, "The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible: A
Panel," in Scriptures for the Modern World ed. Paul R. Cheesman and C. Wilfred
Griggs (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1984), 81-83.

55. For a good example of how Mormon scholars utilize such sources, especially
note the cautious essays by Stephen E. Robinson and S. Kent Brown in Apocryphal
Writings and the Latter-day Saints ed. C. Wilfred Griggs (Provo: BYU Religius
Studies Center, 1986).

56. Hugh Nibley, Enoch the Prophet CWHN vol. 2 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co.
and FARMS, 1986). On this especially see John W. Welch, "The Narrative of
Zosimus and the Book of Mormon" BYU Studies 22 (Summer, 1982): 311-332.

57. On this especially see John W. Welch, "The Narrative of Zosimus and the Book
of Mormon" BYU Studies 22 (Summer, 1982): 311-332.

58. See Stephen E. Robinson, "Background for the Testaments."

59. S. Kent Brown, "Man and Son of Man: Issues of Theology and Christology," in
The Pearl of Great Price: Revelations from God ed. H. Donl Peterson and Charles
D. Tate (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Centre, 1989), 57-72.

60. James H. Charlesworth, "Messianism in the Pseudepigrapha and the Book of
Mormon," in Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels ed. Truman G.
Madsen (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Centre, 1978), 99-137. Non-LDS biblical
scholars Jacob Milgrom, David Noel Freedman, W. D. Davies and Krister Stendahl
also contributed to this volume.

61. W. D. Davies writes: "As a parallel in the Enochic corpus, George
Nickelsburg has called my attention in correspondence to 4QEnGiants…….8.3: prsgn
lwh'tny[n] (''the copy of the sec[on]d tablet')." W. D. Davies, "Reflections on
the Mormon 'Canon'", Harvard Theological Review 79:1-3 (1986): 51 n. 18. The
parallel here is with Moses 6:46: "For a book of remembrance we have written
among us, according to the pattern given us by the finger of God."

62. Harold Bloom, The American Religion (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 101
(emphasis added).

63. See Adolph von Harnack, History of Dogma 7 vols. (New York: Dover, 1961);
and Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (Philadelphia:
Fortress Press, 1971).

64. Stephen E. Robinson, "Early Christianity and 1 Nephi 13-14," in The Book of
Mormon: First Nephi, The Doctrinal Foundation, 188. The influence of Greek
philosophy on "orthodox" Christianity is a repeated theme in Robinson's recent
dialogue with evangelical scholar Craig Blomberg [Craig L. Blomberg and Stephen
E. Robinson, How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical Conversation
(downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1997)]. On this issue Robinson and other
Latter-day Saints are fond of Edwin Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas and
Usages upon the Christian Church (London: Williams and Norgate, 1895; reprint,
Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1995).

65. We are not referring here to the popular level use of the Fathers
exemplified in Van Hale's debates, nor to the extremely poor handling of sources
in Michael T. Griffith, One Lord, One Faith: Writings of the Early Christian
Fathers as Evidences of the Restoration (Bountiful, UT: Horizon Publishers,
1996). These examples do not represent the strength of the LDS apologetic from
church history.

66. Nibley's most important works in this area area: The World and the Prophets
CWHN vol. 3 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. and FARMS, 1987) and Mormonism and
Early Christianity CWHN vol. 4 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. and FARMS,

67. These lectures were recorded and are available under their original title in
most LDS bookstores and from FARMS [P.O. Box 7113, University Station, Provo, UT
84602]. We recommend the purchase of this series as an excellent introduction to
Nibley. His command of the Patristic sources is most impressive. The book
contains a few additional essays and citations for all references but fails to
convey the full vigour of the original lectures.

68. Phillips, "Foreword," The World and the Prophets, x, xi.

69. C. Wilfred Griggs, Early Egyptian Christianity: From Its Origins to 451
C.E., Coptic Studies Series, ed. Martin Krause, no. 2 (New York: E.J. Brill,

70. For example, Griggs' book is listed in several of the bibliographies in the
Encyclopedia of the Early Church ed. Angeli Di Bernardino, translated by Adrian
Walford (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

71. Griggs, Early Egyptian Christianity, 45.

72. It should be mentioned that Griggs has excavated some of the more important
sites for the study of early Christianity in Egypt, especially in the Fayum, and
has himself discovered some of the papyri.

71. Ibid., citing Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy, xxii.

74. Ibid., 32-33.

75. Ibid., 80, 82.

76. Ibid., 33.

77. Ibid, 83.

78. Ibid, 45-116 passim.

79. Griggs all but states the LDS view when he writes, "As was the situation
elsewhere in early Christianity, the real threat to believers was considered to
be from within the organization. Church members who had turned from the true
faith and were in rebellion (the meaning of the Greek word apostasia) were a
much greater threat to the Church than were external forces." He follows this
statement with an early quotation that "identifies the real apostates with those
who have ecclesiastical authority." Ibid., 85.

80. Because appeals to the early Church for the doctrine of theosis
(deification) are well-known we have chosen not to include it in this study.
Instead we chose to describe two lesser known examples. It should be noted,
however, that LDS research on the topic is more extensive than merely reading
the Fathers through. The most in depth study of theosis from a Latter-day Saint
perspective is Keith Norman, "Deification: The Content of Athanasian
Soteriology" (Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, 1980).

81. William J. Hamblin, "Aspects of an Early Christian Initiation Ritual," in By
Study And Also By Faith 1:211.

82. On the significance of the Secret Gospel of Mark for Latter-day Saints cf.
Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians? (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991),

83. See David L. Paulsen, "Early Christian Belief in a Corporeal Deity: Origen
and Augustine as Reluctant Witnesses," Harvard Theological Review 83 no. 2
(1990): 106. Also see Kim Paffenroth's reply ("Paulsen on Augustine: An
Incorporeal or Nonanthropomorphic God?") and Paulsen's rejoinder ("Reply to Kim
Paffenroth's Comment") in Harvard Theolgoical Review 86 no. 2 (1993): 233-239.
See also David Paulsen, "Must God Be Incorporeal?" Faith and Philosophy 6 no. 1
(Jan. 1989): 76-87.

84. Recently Stephen E. Robinson has written, "Often Evangelicals assume that we
LDS accept the Book of Mormon in place of the Bible, this is incorrect. There
isn't a single verse of the Bible that I do not personally accept and believe,
although I do reject the interpretive straitjacket imposed on the Bible by the
Hellenized church after the apostles passed from the scene." Blomberg and
Robinson, How Wide the Divide?, 59.

85. Ibid., 55.

86. The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, The Chicago Statement on
Biblical Hermeneutics (1982): Esp. articles VIII, XIII, XIV, XV.

87. Avraham Gileadi, ed., Israel's Apostasy and Restoration: Essays in Honor of
Roland K. Harrison (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988).

88. The LDS essays are Avraham Gileadi, "The Davidic Covenant: A Theological
Basis for Corporate Protection;" Stephen D. Ricks, "The Prophetic Literality of
Tribal Reconstruction," and John M. Lundquist, "Temple, Covenant, and Law in the
Ancient Near East and in the Hebrew Bible."

89. The quotation of Stephen D. Ricks' essay "The Prophetic Literality of Tribal
Reconstruction" appears in Robert L. Saucy, The Case for Progressive
Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993), 226 n. 11.

90. Ricks' article is significant because a literal regathering of Israel to the
Promised land was predicted by Joseph Smith. [See The Teachings of Joseph Smith
ed. Larry E. Dahl and Donald Q. Cannon (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997), 329.]
In light of the importance temples, covenants and gospel laws play in Mormon
religious life it should be apparent why Lundquist would focus his study on this
topic. Gileadi's essay also ties in with his LDS theology with respect to proxy

91. Three recent examples of unwitting quotation can be seen in Mark F. Rooker,
"Dating Isaiah 40-66: What Does the Linguistic Evidence Say?" Westminster
Theological Journal 58 no. 2 (Fall 1996): 307 n. 15 (referencing a study on
language drift in biblical Hebrew by William J. Adams and L. LaMar Adams); A.
Boyd Luter and Michelle V. Lee, "Philippians as Chiasmus: Key to the Structure,
Unity and Theme Questions," New Testament Studies 41 no. 1 (Jan. 1995): 99 n. 34
(referencing John W. Welch's book on chiasmus, which, incidentally, has an
entire chapter on chiasmus in the Book of Mormon); and, Randall Price, Secrets
of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1996), 115 (citing Avraham
Gileadi's work on Isaiah).

92. As the author of many studies in this area, his command of the literature is
demonstrated in John W. Welch, ed., A Biblical Law Bibliography, Toronto Studies
in Theology, no. 51 (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990).

93. See especially John W. Welch, "Chiasmus in the New Testament," in Chiasmus
in Antiquity, 211-249.

94. Stephen D. Ricks, "The Magician as Outsider: The Evidence of the Hebrew
bible," in New Perspectives on Ancient Judaism ed. Paul V. M. Flesher (Lanham,
MD: University Press of America, 1990), 125-134. This study is significant
because Ricks' conclusions could be used in a cumulative argument seeking to
vindicate Joseph Smith's use of magic.

95. See note 18.

96. For one example, see Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul (Salt Lake
City: Deseret Book, 1983).

97. See the following LDS authored entries in the Anchor Bible Dictionary:
Egypt, History of (Graeco-Roman); Egyptian, the (person); Sayings of Jesus,
Oxyrhynchus; Souls, Preexistence of; Truth, Gospel of [S.K. Brown]; Khirbet
Kerak Ware [S.J. Pfann {sic}]; Jaakobah; Jaareshia; Jaasu; Jaaziah; Jaaziel;
Names, Hypocoristic; Names, Theophoric [D.M. Pike]; Abortion in Antiquity; Sheba
(Person); Sheba (Queen of) [S. D. Ricks]; Adam, The Testament of; Baruch, Book
of 4; Joseph, Prayer of [S.E. Robinson]; Arabah; Shur, Wilderness of; Sin,
Wilderness of; Zin, Wilderness of [D.R. Seely]; Rephidim; Succoth [J.H. Seely].

98. We use the term "lay person" loosely when referring to Mormons who are not
scholars. Technically all Mormons are laity.

99. James White, "Of Cities and Swords: The Impossible Task of Mormon
Apologetics," Christian Research Journal (Summer, 1996): 28-35.

100. John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Behind the Mask of Mormonism: From Its
Early Schemes to Its Modern Deceptions (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1992).

101. Ibid., 452.

102. Not only is there no serious interaction with Mormon scholarship in this
book, what little there is, as frequently cited second hand from Jerald and
Sandra Tanner. A cursory reading of the endnotes makes this abundantly clear. It
appears that Ankerberg and Weldon, far from willing to spend thousands of
man-hours and thousands of dollars on the issue, were also quite unwilling to
spend a few dollars or a few hours reading a few of the pertinent books

103. Ibid., 453.

104. Ibid. See Brent Lee Metcalfe, ed., New Approaches to the Book of Mormon
(Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993). It has become common for evangelicals
to defer to this book. That is quite disturbing. The authors of this volume are,
for the most part, thorough-going naturalists. The methodology they employ to
dismantle traditional views of the Book of Mormon could equally be used to
attack the Bible. David P. Wright, one of the contributors to the work, writes,
"This, by the way, shows that the conclusions here about the Book of Mormon
cannot be used to funnel Mormons into fundamentalist Christianity. It is the
height of methodological inconsistency to think that critical method of study
can be applied to the Book of Mormon and that its results can be accepted while
leaving the Bible exempted from critical study" (p. 212 n. 105, emphasis added).
We are left wondering as to how closely Ankerberg and Weldon (among others) have
read this book which they so enthusiastically endorse.

105. See Rodney Stark, "The Rise of a New World Faith," Review of Religious
Research 26 no. 1 (September, 1984): 18-27. Stark originally estimated 265
million Mormons by 2080.