Oh, I say, dash it! Dan Peterson is hosting an open discussion of the Book of Mormon, one chapter a day. It’s open to anyone who wants to contribute, nibs and us jolly old regular chappies alike. (He explains the project here). To date, if that’s the expression I want, the contributions have been quite fruity. Good, if you know what I mean.

The first week’s discussions are listed below by yours truly. On the advice of Jeeves, I’ve included a taste of Dan Peterson’s thought for each chapter, by way of whetting the old appetite. Toodle-oo and bon appetit!

  • 1 Nephi 7 lacks any and all traces of romantic love.
  • 1 Nephi 6 –The Book of Mormon is not, and was never intended to be, a comprehensive history of the Nephites
  • 1 Nephi 4 –There’s no point in trying to minimize the horror of what Nephi is asked to do, and what he eventually does, in this chapter.
  • 1 Nephi 3 –Isn’t it wildly implausible that, having just being rebuked by an angel from the Lord, Laman and Lemuel begin again, almost immediately, to complain and to doubt?  I think, at one point in my life, that I would have thought it unbelievable. But I don’t think so any longer.
  • 1 Nephi 2 –The ostensible rule in the Hebrew Bible is primogeniture; the eldest son is the heir to the father. But, in the crucial stories (e.g., those of Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, and Joseph and his brothers), it’s a younger son who proves to be the real, God-approved heir. Nephi’s case continues that series of accounts in which human expectations are divinely overturned.
  • 1 Nephi 1 –Somebody suggested that goodly is an obsolete equivalent of English wealthy or rich. Nephi’s parents were well-to-do. They had goods. Thus, they were able to provide their son with a first-rate education. I like this suggestion. It fits. It sheds light on Nephi’s background and on his family. But my friend Kevin Barney now suggests, alas, that there is no basis in English historical lexicography for it.
  • the Title Page –The disinclination to claim infallibility or inerrancy is followed by an exhortation to charity on the part of readers.

The chapter 8 discussion will go live today, if past is prologue, which if jolly well often is, so check Sic et Non this afternoon if you are keen on Lehi’s Dream.

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