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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lovin' Phoenix

Phoenix -- what an amazing place! Especially while its so cold in Wisconsin right now that we put ice cubes from our freezers into our boots for toe warmers.

Yesterday I had time to do a session at the beautiful and historic Mesa Temple, where I met Martin van Hemert, a professional photographer working on some temple photographs. Very kind and interesting person. Thanks for taking the time to chat with a photographer wannabe!

I had the privilege of staying Saturday night with my first missionary companion in Switzerland and attending his ward today, the Arcadia Ward of the Scottsdale Arizona Camelback Stake. (Don't know if he wants his name here yet - so I'll slightly protect his privacy by not giving it. But he's a supremely awesome Latter-day Saint with an amazing family. What great people!) In that ward, I met a former Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, a former mayor of Phoenix, and learned that the ward has five former mission presidents and quite a few other notables (well, they're all notable, you know).

Tonight I was able to attend a presentation on the beautiful Arizona State University campus at the impressive LDS Institute, where Dr. Steven Bay of BYU spoke on his work based on using multispectral image analysis to bring out text from damaged scrolls. Amazing work with lots of valuable insights into ancient documents and even some insights into the scriptures. I was especially happy to hear one bit of info that came as an aside from Dr. Bay: the story in John 8 of Christ and the adulteress whose life He saves with the word, "Let him who is without sins cast the first stone," is found repeatedly on very early manuscripts and is not in question as an authentic biblical story, as I read elsewhere sometime ago. Whew! I'm glad about that because it's one of my favorite stories and is something I fancied as too wise, loving, and characteristic of Christ to have been made up or of questionable origins.

While at the lecture/fireside, I met Corey, who kindly let me know about the event, and several other interesting people. I was amazed at how many people were there - 400 is my estimate. Filled a chapel and much of the cultural hall at the Institute, which also serves as a stake center for the university/single adults stake.

Oh, to that bright ASU student who I talked with after the fireside, the one interested in a scholarly book on the Urim and Thummim, the author is Dr. Cornelius Van Dam of the Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches. I discuss his book, The Urim and Thummim: A Means of Revelation in Ancient Israel (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1997) on my blog post, Cornelius Van Dam on the Urim and Thummim.

Now it's almost time to get down to business....

4 comments:

Geoff J said...

I was freezing here today. (Low 60s) You should have seen last week though -- mid 70s all week. That was nice.

Robert said...

Was that your first time in Phoenix? Arizona State is one of the schools where I'm applying to get my Ph.D., and I must say it is an impressive campus. It would be very nice to get to hang out in that Institute building from time to time, I must say.

Robert Boylan said...

Jeff,

Your friend is wrong. The pericope of the woman taken in adultery, like the longer Marcan ending or the Johannine Comma is a later insertion to the text. Such is well-accepted in the realm of textual criticism, from all spheres (whether liberal, moderate, or conservative). See the discussions of such in the works of Ehrman, Comfort, Metzger, and even James White (a Reformed Protestant who is an ardent anti-Mormon).

Robert Boylan

Jeff Lindsay said...

Interesting. Too bad! Here's what the Gospel of Wikipedia has to say on the matter:

The pericope is not found in its canonical place in any of the earliest surviving Greek Gospel manuscripts; neither in the two 3rd century papyrus witnesses to John - P66 and P75; nor in the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. The first surviving Greek manuscript witness to the pericope is the Latin/Greek diglot Codex Bezae of the fifth century. Papias (circa 125 CE) refers to a story of Jesus and a woman "accused of many sins" as being found in the Gospel of the Hebrews, which may well refer to this passage; while there is a certain reference to the pericope adulterae in the 3rd Century Syriac Didascalia Apostolorum; though without any indication as to which Gospel, if any, then contained the story.

Until recently, it was not thought that any Greek Church Father had taken note of the passage before the 12th Century; but in 1941 a large collection of the writings of Didymus the Blind (ca. 313- 398) was discovered in Egypt, including a reference to the pericope adulterae as being found in "several gospels"; and it is now considered established that this passage was present in its canonical place in a minority of Greek manuscripts known in Alexandria from the 4th Century onwards. In support of this it is noted that the 4th century Codex Vaticanus, which was written in Egypt, marks the end of John chapter 7 with an "umlaut", indicating that an alternative reading was known at this point.

Jerome reports that the pericope adulterae was to be found in its canonical place in "many Greek and Latin manuscripts" in Rome and the Latin West in the late 4th Century. This is confirmed by the consensus of Latin Fathers of the 4th and 5th Centuries CE; including Ambrose, and Augustine. The latter claimed that the passage may have been improperly excluded from some manuscripts in order to avoid the impression that Christ had sanctioned adultery:

Certain persons of little faith, or rather enemies of the true faith, fearing, I suppose, lest their wives should be given impunity in sinning, removed from their manuscripts the Lord's act of forgiveness toward the adulteress, as if he who had said, Sin no more, had granted permission to sin.[4]