BYU Studies 48:2 (2009)

By October 13, 2009

I noticed that I never got to putting up the run down on this issue. In the interest of doing it, I will need to be brief and only comment more on items dealing directly with Mormon history.

The lead article by Dr. Brian Cannon, “Shaping BYU: The Presidential Administration and Legacy of Benjamin Cluff Jr,” is a well documented look at the lesser known successor to Karl G. Maeser. Looks at many aspects of Cluff’s activities at BYU including the contraversial expedition to Central America.

Next Sam Brown has a review essay discussing John Harris’ Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People.

Next, Clark H. Pinnock and David L. Paulsen dialogue about theology. This is an abbreviated version of discussions that are included in the book Mormonism in Dialogue with Contemporary Christian Theologies.

Next, Travis T. Anderson has, “Artistry and Aesthetics in Contemporary Mormon and Iranian Film.” I’m still trying to figure out the basis for comparing these two other than that both consider family important.

Next, Jill Derr and Matt Grow present, “Letters on Mormon Polygamy and Progeny: Eliza R. Snow and Martin Luther HOlbrook, 1866-1869.” Martin Luther Holbrook was an advocate of radical health reforms and his exchange with Snow reveals an openness to the “experiment” of polygamy as a means to imporove progeny. Snow treasured this exchange, copying some of the letters in her journal–the only personal correspondence she ever did record in her journal. The letters and explanatory material provide interesting glimpses into medical theories and beliefs regarding polygamy.

Finally, book reviews.

Thomas Wayment reviews Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Wayment’s summary indicates that Bauckham’s book posits that the Gospels were written around eyewitness testimony and that this was a function of 1st century historical practice. Seems like an interesting book.

Ned C. Hill reviews Henry J. Eyring’s Mormon Scientist: The Life and Faith of Henry Eyring. This seems to be an intersting book not only in its content, but that part of its content was published by Deseret Book. Hill explains that it includes his exchanges and disagreements with Joseph Fielding Smith over evolution. It discusses his debate with Melvin Cook over the matter as well. Eyring is portrayed as having faith that there was no conflict between gospel principles and the facts of radio carbon dating showing an older earth, etc.

Noel Reynolds reviews N. T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church.

Kathryn Daynes reviews Carmon Hardy’s Doing the Works of Abraham: Mormon Polygamy, It’s Origin, Practice, and Demise. She gives a good review, noting very few cases where the original deviates from the published document.

Jesse D. Hurlbut reviews Vern Swanson’s Dynasty of the Holy Grail: Mormonism’s Sacred Bloodline. In short, Hurlbut says that the book falls outisde the limits of conventional academia.

Brian Jackson reviews Camille Kaminski Lewis’ Romancing the Difference: Kenneth Burke, Bob Jones University adn the Rhetoric of Religious Fundamentalism.

Rosalynde Welch reviews Amos Yong’s Theology and Down Syndrome: Reimagining Disability in Late Modernity.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. “[T]he book falls outside the limits of conventional academia.” Depending on whether this is a summary or an actual quotation, either Jared T. or Mr. Hurlbut deserves a Noble prize for diplomacy …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 13, 2009 @ 8:39 am

  2. Haha, the quote is, “This book falls outside the parameters of traditional academic inquiry.” Indeed Hurlbut goes out of his way to be diplomatic.

    Funny story, when I was on my mission, the first area I served in was Springfield/Spanish Fork. We did service from time to time in the Springfield Art Museum. One day the museum director (whose name I never remembered until I read this review) took my companion and I aside and asked us what we thought Joseph Smith meant when he said “No man knows my history.” Maybe we ventured some guess. He then said that it had reference to his genealogy. Then brought in a Brigham Young quote of some kind and basically made the case for JS being a blood descendant of Christ. That out-of-the blue encounter always stuck out to me.

    Comment by Jared T — October 13, 2009 @ 8:56 am

  3. Thanks for this, Jared. It looks like a strong issue.

    Comment by Ben — October 13, 2009 @ 9:33 am

  4. Thanks, Jared. Brian Cannon’s article is solid and a good read, placing Cluff and his philosophy of education in the context of Progressive Era America. My non-academic, yet educated, parents both commented to me that they enjoyed the article.

    Comment by David G. — October 13, 2009 @ 9:40 am

  5. 2. Ha! That is so wonderfully below the surface Mormon Jared. And you better watch yourself if you ever walk around “Springfield”! 😉

    Comment by WVS — October 13, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

  6. Hehe.

    Comment by Jared T. — October 13, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

  7. Indeed Hurlbut goes out of his way to be diplomatic

    I never thought I would live to read that sentence in a Mormon historical context.

    Comment by SC Taysom — October 13, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

  8. Indeed, Steve. As the name came up I kept wondering how to make a joke about it without being too overt. Where I failed, you’ve succeeded 🙂

    Comment by Jared T. — October 13, 2009 @ 3:23 pm


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