Just wanted to give you a brief update of some things I’ve been doing lately.

I posted (a couple of weeks back now) some material over at The Millennial Star about the reforms of King Josiah and the Deuteronomists and how these reforms may have affected the theological themes found in the Old Testament we read today.  This post is based on material I posted here on Heavenly Ascents a couple of years ago, but I think it’s still worth sharing. You can see it here: http://www.millennialstar.org/the-deuteronomists-and-the-suppression-of-ancient-truths/

I was recently invited to be a contributor at Reviews of Biblical and Early Christian Studies (rbecs.wordpress.com). This website is run by Dan Batovici, PhD student here at the University of St Andrews, and a few other postgrad students at Cambridge and Durham universities. The main purpose of the site is to provide reviews of the latest publications in the fields of Biblical Studies and Early Christian Studies and also to give reports on important seminar presentations given at the respective universities.  I am honored to be able to contribute to this very helpful site.  You can see my first post here. I give a report of Dr Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer’s seminar paper on “The Geographical and Theological Location of Isaiah 40-55″.

Dan and I, along with Beth Tracy and other colleagues here at the University of St Andrews, are organizing a graduate conference that will be taking place in June, entitled “The 1st St Andrews Graduate Conference for Biblical and Early Christian Studies: Authoritative Texts and Reception History.” I will be presenting a paper on the early Christian interpretation of older Melchizedek traditions. You can read more about the conference here.

I will be presenting a paper on May 14th at the first annual EXPOUND Symposium in Provo, Utah. The topic of my presentation will be “The Psalms as a Key to Understanding the Rituals of the First Temple”. I am very excited to be back in Provo, home of Brigham Young University, my undergraduate alma mater.

Finally, just a further note regarding the metal plates discovery that I’ve featured recently here on Heavenly Ascents. A number of people have written to me asking about my personal opinion regarding this find, which some have noticed I haven’t been especially explicit about in my blog posts.  Personally, I feel it’s much too early for me to form any real opinion on the matter. There are a number of people and organizations that are currently trying to analyze the plates and we just can’t know until more tests have been completed and publicized.  I have heard from many sources that I consider to be reliable (some I’ve mentioned in previous posts) that the opinion of most authorities is negative regarding their authenticity.  It seems that the Israeli Antiquities Authority sees them as forgeries.  A reader, Warren Aston, forwarded me an email from a top LDS expert in the field (Dr. Jeff Chadwick, who is currently at the BYU Jerusalem Center) who is doubtful regarding their authenticity as well and advises against making or believing any of the popular claims about them, especially their connections to the early Christian community or to anything temple-related.  So, in light of these problems with our current lack of certainty regarding the origin and authenticity of the metal plates, I agree that we should be cautious about what we believe to be the significance of this find. We’ll just have to wait and see what the final determination of the experts is and then we can form some more educated opinions.

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