This podcast series features past FairMormon Conference presentations. This presentation is from our 2019 conference held in August. If you would like to watch the presentations from our 2019 conference, you can still purchase the video streaming.

Ben Spackman, A Paradoxical Preservation of Faith: LDS Creation Accounts and the Composite Nature of Revelation

Transcript available here.

Ben Spackman did ten years of undergraduate (BYU) and graduate work in ancient Near Eastern studies and Semitics (University of Chicago) before moving on to general science (City College of New York). Currently a PhD student in History of Christianity at Claremont Graduate University, Ben’s focus is the intertwined histories of religion, science, and scriptural interpretation; most specifically, he studies the intellectual history of fundamentalism, creationism, and religious opposition to evolution in connection with interpretations of Genesis.

Ben taught volunteer Institute and Seminary for a dozen years in the Midwest, New York, and California, taught Biblical Hebrew, Book of Mormon, and New Testament at BYU, and TA’d a course on “God, Darwin, and Design” at Claremont. He has contributed to BYU StudiesReligious Educator, the Maxwell InstituteInterpreter: A Journal of Mormon ScriptureReligion&Politics, the Salt Lake Tribune, and blogs at (previously at Timesandseasons) where he writes extensively about Gospel Doctrineevolution, and Genesis, among other things. He has presented lectures, firesides, and papers at various conferences, including the Joseph Smith Papers, the Mormon History Association, the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology, the Maxwell Institute Seminar on Mormon Culture, the Mormon Theology Seminar, Mormon Scholars in the Humanities, BYU’s Sperry SymposiumBYU Late Summer Honors (lecture on Genesis and evolution), and this year, Education Week (Aug 21-24), on Reading the Bible in Context. He is a contributor to BYU’s ecumenical Reconciling Evolution project.

Ben has appeared on various podcasts: LDS Perspectives (on genre in the Bible, and Genesis 1), LDS MissionCast (on missionaries, prooftexting, and the Bible), and GospelTangents (on evolution, scripture, and religious history).

He typically juggles half a dozen writing projects at once, currently including a book on Genesis 1 for an LDS audience, a dissertation on post-1970 creationism/evolution conflict in the LDS Church and its early 20th century roots, a chapter on the Cain/Abel story in Genesis, and a paper on the intellectual background of early 20th-century LDS attempts to reconcile science with scripture (fossils, dinosaurs, pre-adamites, evolution, age of the earth, etc.) He recently received a grant from the Redd Center for research on LDS understandings of dinosaurs and the establishment of BYU’s two museums.

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