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About John Gee

John Gee is the William (Bill) Gay Research Chair and a Senior Research Fellow at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University.

Of Tolerance and Intolerance

Review of D. A. Carson. The Intolerance of Tolerance. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 2012. 186 pp. with indices of names, subjects and scriptures. $24.00 (hardback), $16.00 (paperback).

In graduate school I was disheartened to find that while the school promoted tolerance as the highest virtue, such tolerance was more often honored in the breach. Tolerance was used as an excuse for hatred and bigotry. This is because it is simply impossible to tolerate everything. One cannot tolerate both childhood innocence and pedophilia (to take an extreme example). One must choose what one will tolerate. In some cases the choice to tolerate some things will unavoidably and perhaps unintentionally cause us to cease to tolerate others. Continue reading

John Gee: His Hand is Stretched Out Still

This is a cross-posting (with permission) from John Gee’s blog.

Five times in the book of Isaiah, Isaiah uses the refrain:

For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. (Isaiah 5:25; 9:12, 17, 21; 10:4)

This phrase was recently cited to me as an instance of God’s mercy. I can see how and why someone might take it that way, but doing so fails to understand the English, the underlying Hebrew, the scriptural context and the cultural context of the scriptural passages. There is actually a dissertation being written on this subject (see here), but I will give my own take. Continue reading

Whither Mormon Studies?

Abstract: The proliferation of Mormon Studies is surprising, considering that many of the basic questions about the field have never been answered. This paper looks at a number of basic questions about Mormon Studies that are of either academic concern or concern for members of the Church of Jesus Christ. They include such questions as whether Mormon Studies is a discipline, whether those who do Mormon Studies necessarily know what is going on in the Church, or if they interpret their findings correctly, whether there is any core knowledge that those who do Mormon Studies can or should have, what sort of topics Mormon Studies covers or should cover and whether those topics really have anything to do with what Mormons actually do or think about, whether Mormon Studies has ulterior political or religious motives, and whether it helps or hurts the Kingdom. Is Mormon Studies a waste of students’ time and donors’ money? Though the paper does not come up with definitive answers to any of those questions, it sketches ways of looking at them from a perspective within the restored Gospel and suggests that these issues ought to be more carefully considered before Latter-day Saints dive headlong into Mormon Studies in general. Continue reading

The Apocryphal Acts of Jesus

Abstract: Numerous noncanonical accounts of Jesus’s deeds exist. While some Latter-day Saints would like to find plain and precious things in the apocryphal accounts, few are to be found. Three types of accounts deal with Jesus as a child, his mortal ministry, or after his resurrection. The Jesus of the infancy gospels does not act like the Jesus of the real gospels. The apocryphal accounts of Jesus’s ministry usually push a particular theological agenda. The accounts of Jesus’s post-resurrection teaching often contain intriguing but bizarre information. On the whole, apocryphal accounts of Jesus’s ministry probably contain less useful information for Latter-day Saints than they might expect. Continue reading