We are pleased to announce Philip Barlow as our next participant in the Twelve Questions series. My initial encounter with Professor Barlow’s work was almost seven years ago as a first year Bible student at Yale Divinity School. One morning, after having been introduced to the documentary hypothesis and source criticism, I was browsing aimlessly in the bookstore trying to clear my spinning head. Truth be told, I was at a loss as to how I might approach these theories about scripture as a faithful Latter-day Saint. Then, quite to my surprise, I noticed a book face out on one of the shelves, entitled Mormons and the Bible: The Place of Latter-day Saints in American Religion. It was one of those Twilight Zone moments. I grabbed a copy of the book, sat down on the floor in the bookstore, and read it cover to cover— paying special attention to chapter 4: “The Mormon Response to Higher Criticism.” There are, perhaps, few books which really change our lives, but Mormons and the Bible was one of those rare books for me.
In Professor Barlow’s widely acclaimed Mormons and the Bible he discusses the variety of different perspectives toward the Bible taken by leaders of the Church, beginning with Joseph Smith. Besides this text, which quickly became a classic in Mormon Studies, Professor Barlow has also written the New Historical Atlas of Religion in America and numerous articles on Mormon topics published in the Harvard Theological Review, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and in compilations by Oxford University Press. He also edited A Thoughtful Faith: Essays on Belief by Mormon Scholars. Professor Barlow received his B.A. from Weber State College, and his M.T.S. and Th.D. from Harvard University where his work focused on Religion in American Culture. Professor Barlow is currently a professor in the department of theological studies at Hanover College and has recently presented papers on the Mormon use of the Bible, the hermeneutics of Joseph Smith, and the place of Mormonism in American Religious History.
Please post questions you would like us to submit to Professor Barlow.