By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Reading Dr. Nibley

I have a lot of reading to do to catch up with many of you as far as reading Dr. Hugh Nibley's work is concerned. Still, I can't say I'm too unhappy about that! It is interesting reading and I am learning all sorts of new things. Perhaps I appreciate it more now than I would have when I was younger. He writes interesting pieces and refers to other books and authors and topics that can be researched further.

One recent article that gave me a very different perspective on early Christianity was "The Passing of the Primitive Church: Forty Variations on an Unpopular Theme." I had never considered before reading this piece that the early church, that Jesus Christ had established, did not expect to survive, and that their references to 'the end' might be to the Great Apostasy rather than to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Dr. Nibley comments on a number of things in this piece, including ways the church members acted and spoke and what it indicated about their expectations for the future. For example, they did not refer to the church "as a lusty infant but as an old and failing woman." Why? Because they knew it would not survive for long.

In fact, as Dr. Nibley puts it, "Church history seems to be resolved never to raise the fundamental question of survival as the only way of avoiding a disastrous answer, and the normal reaction to the question—did the church remain on earth?—has not been serious inquiry in a richly documented field, but shocked recoil from the edge of an abyss into which few can look without a shudder." After all, if later church leaders wished to show direct links with the early church, they would want to avoid any consideration of this possibility at all.

This is an interesting article, even if its contents are not new ideas to you as they were to me. The article appears in Volume 4 of Dr. Nibley's collected works, Mormonism and Early Christianity. It is also on the FARMS website, which I have linked above. I have the 1999 version of GospeLink and it is on those CDs as well, if you happen to have them (and I expect it is on any later versions, as well). Since I have become so interested in early Christianity, I will be reading the entire contents of that volume as I can. Too bad I have to go to work and lead a normal life, too! It cuts into my reading time.

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Blogger pate said...

So many good books and so little time to read them ... I've also enjoyed reading Nibley. 'Mormonism and Early Christianity' is a nice read, my favorite is probably 'Approaching Zion'.

You might enjoy reading some of the FARMS symposia books too. 'Temples of the Ancient World: Ritual and Symbolism' & 'The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5' come to mind.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendations!


8:10 AM  

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