BYU’s Religious Studies Center publishes The Religious Educator, a little-known LDS journal that deserves wider recognition. The RSC publishes several other interesting things, and has made many of them available on-line, including many books (though you have to click on an individual book to see if it’s online. The older it is, the more likely.)
I think the two defining characteristics of Religious Educator are its intended audience (
CES S&I faculty and anyone else who subscribes) and content (attempting an academic/devotional hybrid.) I suspect many readers would not expect anything serious from such a description, but it has some real gems and sometimes pushes boundaries in a good way (particularly considering the intended audience.) A sampling-
- Eric Huntsman’s “Teaching Through Exegesis: Helping Students Ask Questions of the Text” 6:1 (2005)
- Richard Bushman’s “The Little Narrow Prison of Language: The Rhetoric of Revelation” 1:1 (2000)
- Hoskisson and Davis, “Usage of the Title Elohim” (which points out that our modern usage is not identical to the scriptural usages, something many don’t understand) 14:1 (2013)
- Gaye Strathearn’s “Crucifixion: Reclamation of the Cross” 14:1 (2013) which gives some background and argues for the relevance of cross symbolism in LDS thought.
- Mark Ellison’s “Paul and James on Faith and Works” 13:3 (2012)
- My own relatively short article on understanding what’s going on in the sordid story of Tamar seducing her father-in-law.
- John C. Thomas’ “Sweetwater Revisited, Sour Notes, and the Ways of Learning” 10:2 (2009) Thomas reflects on his experiences teaching Chad Orton’s BYU Studies article about what actually happened the day three boys supposedly were guaranteed salvation after death from exposure in carrying pioneers across an icy river. This is a great look at how to teach history that conflicts with tradition.
- An interview with Elder Stephen Snow, the new Church Historian in charge of the new Gospel Topics pages that are so talked about right now. (Not yet available, but Blair Hodges at the Maxwell Institute published a tantalizing preview. He’s also featured in this video from the top of the topics page.
- I know Joseph Spencer has a RE article on grace and 2 Nephi coming out in the future, which also should spice up the list of worthwhile reading.
So, there really is some good stuff in Religious Educator, particularly if you’re a Gospel Doctrine teacher looking for material, suggestions or even articles to mail out or refer people to. There’s a Sunday School index (still D&C on the page) that lists relevant articles for each Gospel Doctrine lesson, and a similar index for RS/PH lessons.
The January 2014 issue prints an article I wrote, which started here at T&S, about why Bible translations differ, some challenging questions about the nature of scripture and translation (particularly when scripture challenges our expectation of holiness), some lengthy suggestions on personal study, and an evaluation of the relevance of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith Translation for deciding between textual differences. The personal study suggestions are more in-depth than in my post here. The RSC policy is to put up electronic editions about a year after paper publication, but I have permission to post it online. If you’d like a copy, download it here. Ben Spackman, “Why Bible Translations Differ: A Guide for the Perplexed” Religious Educator 15:1 (2014): 31-65.
My thanks to Chris who asked the question that got me writing on the topic, the many people who commented, offered suggestions, and the RSC for wanting to publish and distribute it.