New Volume Honors Truman G. Madsen
The distinguished career of Truman G. Madsen has earned him wide respect in and outside of LDS circles as an outstanding teacher, scholar, researcher, speaker, university administrator, church leader, and religious ambassador. With the publication of Revelation, Reason, and Faith: Essays in Honor of Truman G. Madsen, the Institute pays tribute to this remarkable man whose many accomplishments include helping to advance Book of Mormon scholarship and related interests of the Institute.
Edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and Stephen D. Ricks (each of whom also authored chapters), the 800-plus-page volume contains contributions by 31 scholars, 10 of whom are not Latter-day Saints, reflecting the wide appeal of Madsen's academic work and influence. The non-LDS contributors include the noted biblical scholars David Noel Freedman, James H. Charlesworth, and Jacob Milgrom. The book is organized into five sections: "Philosophy and Theology," "LDS Scripture and Theology," "Joseph Smith and LDS Church History," "Judaism," and "The Temple."
The question of whether the love of God must precede the love of people provides the basis for "The Spirituality of Love: Kierkegaard on Faith's Transforming Power," by C. Terry Warner, professor of philosophy at BYU. Warner examines this question using the writings of the 19th-century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. Warner shows that, first of all, people must discover themselves through submitting to the will of God rather than to the will of the crowd. Only through submission to God can a person be free to discover love for God and for all people. According to Warner, "If we accept the invitation [to come to Christ], which means following and emulating him in our own daily walk, we obtain the freedom from self-absorption and develop the depth of soul that love requires."
Warner further notes that love for God, or faith, is equivalent to love for people. He writes: "When we choose Christ above all others, we simultaneously and by the same act choose to love. . . . Though love of God is sought first, it is not achieved first and then followed by love of neighbor; we will look in vain for a process or discipline to carry us from faith to love. Love of God is love of neighbor."
In "The Refractory Abner Cole," Andrew H. Hedges, BYU associate professor of church history and doctrine, gives an account of "one of Mormonism's earliest, most vocal, and most caustic critics." Hedges covers Cole's sketchy background; his motives for criticizing Joseph Smith and the church in his weekly newspaper, the Reflector; and his aggressive confrontations with Hyrum, Oliver, and Joseph over his refusal to cease from printing purloined extracts from the Book of Mormon while it was at press.
Hedges writes that Cole's "lively interest" in Mormonism "manifested itself in a variety of editorial comments and articles in his paper, ranging from [in the words of Lucy Mack Smith] 'the lowest and most contemptible doggerel that ever was imposed upon any community' to well-reasoned arguments against the legitimacy of the Book of Mormon and the new religion. . . . Cole's withering remarks and satire on Joseph and the Book of Mormon were a regular feature in his paper." Hedges concludes with a brief overview of Cole's subsequent failed business ventures and rapid personal demise.
In "The Book of Job as a Biblical 'Guide of the Perplexed,'" Raphael Jospe, senior lecturer on Jewish philosophy at the Open University of Israel, examines the book of Job from the perspective of the great medieval rabbi Moses Maimonides, who wrote about Job in his monumental Guide of the Perplexed. According to Jospe, the purpose of that work was to explain terms in scripture that can cause a person familiar with religion and philosophy to be perplexed. Jospe argues that Maimonides viewed Job as an example of one thus perplexed. Because righteous Job is never described as wise or understanding, Maimonides reasoned, his errors were not moral but intellectual.
Jospe shows that Job and his three friends each represent a different school of thought about divine providence: Job believes in general providence but not that it can extend to individuals, Eliphaz believes that people have free will and thus are justly rewarded and punished for their actions, Bildad says that God will compensate people for their earthly sufferings in the world to come, and Zophar claims that everything that happens is God's will and that humans should not question that will. Jospe, explaining that Job is rewarded at the end of the narrative when he recognizes his lack of understanding, asserts that the book of Job is "a sort of biblical 'Guide of the Perplexed.'" He concludes that the aim of both books is "to resolve the perplexity of one who doubts religious teaching on philosophical grounds by correcting the intellectual error of equating divine actions with human actions."
In "Fundamentals of Temple Ideology from Eastern Traditions," John M. Lundquist, chief librarian of the Asian and Middle Eastern Division at the New York Public Library, discusses the features shared by the great temple-building traditions of the ancient world, particularly those of Tibet, India, Japan, and Indonesia. He examines aspects of ancient temples and temple worship such as architecture, directional orientation, ritual initiation, authority/priesthood, sacred geometry, cave and labyrinth motifs, and the mysteries.
Lundquist explains, for example, that the great temples were all constructed with the idea to link heaven and earth by situating the structures at a ritually determined center point. "The center," he says, "is fixed in its earthly place through its orientation to the four cardinal directions, through its central axis that connects the worlds (underworld, earth, and heaven), and through ongoing astronomical sightings, which keep the temple and its initiates in constant communication with that ultimate place, heaven." Although Lundquist's purpose is not to connect the fundamental features of ancient temples with those of LDS temples, astute readers will recognize some interesting links while gaining deeper appreciation for ancient Eastern temple traditions.
Additional contributors are Davis Bitton, M. Gerald Bradford, S. Kent Brown, Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Dan, James E. Faulconer, Guttorm Fløistad, Rebecca L. Frey, Gary P. Gillum, Ann N. Madsen, Daniel B. McKinlay, Louis Midgley, Blake T. Ostler, David L. Paulsen, David Rosen, David R. Seely, Andrew C. Skinner, John A. Tvedtnes, Seth Ward, David J. Whittaker, and R. J. Zvi Werblowsky. The book includes a complete bibliography of Madsen's published works, including audiotapes. Copies of Revelation, Reason, and Faith can be ordered via the enclosed mail-order form or via the bookstore section of the FARMS Web site. !