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About John A. Tvedtnes

John A. Tvedtnes earned degrees in anthropology, Middle East area studies, linguistics, and Hebrew, and studied Egyptian and Semitic languages at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He taught at the University of Utah, the BYU Salt Lake and Jerusalem centers before joining the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, which became BYU’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. John has lectured at several other universities and has presented dozens of symposium papers in Israel and the USA. Though most of his ten books and 300+ articles address LDS subjects, his writings have been published by four universities and several professional societies. John retired in 2007 as senior resident scholar for BYU’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.

When Was Christ Born?

Abstract: Many people still believe that Jesus Christ was born on 25 December, either in 1 bc or ad 1. The December date is certainly incorrect and the year is unlikely.

Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given. (3 Nephi 1:13–14)

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Biblical and Non-Biblical Quotes in the Sermons and Epistles of Paul

Abstract: In 2010, BYU’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute published an article in which I demonstrated that the charge of plagiarism, frequently leveled against Joseph Smith by critics, is untrue. I noted, among other things, that the authors of books of the Bible sometimes quoted their predecessors. One of those authors was the apostle Paul, who drew upon a wide range of earlier texts in his epistles. This article discusses and demonstrates his sources. Continue reading

Variants in the Stories of the First Vision of Joseph Smith and the Apostle Paul

Abstract: Some critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have noted that the different accounts of Joseph Smith’s first vision, though written by the prophet himself, vary in some details. They see this as evidence that the event did not take place and was merely invented to establish divine authority for his work. They fail to realize that the versions of Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus, in which the risen Christ appeared to him, also differ from one another. Indeed, they vary more than Joseph Smith’s accounts of his experience. This article examines those variants. Continue reading