I happened to sit in on an early morning Seminary class today, working on Moses 8. I haven’t been in a Seminary class since I graduated high school, which was… a while ago. But I noticed something that went completely uncommented on by the manual, that I could see.
Compare the two texts below. I’ve italicized the differences, and in both texts, I’ve bolded/replaced the explanatory/causal “for” with the clearer “because.”
6:6-7 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth,
and it grieved him at his heart.
And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air;
because it repenteth me that I have made them.
JST/Book of Moses
8:25-6 And it repented Noah, and his heart was pained that the Lord had made man on the earth,
and it grieved him at the heart.
And the Lord said: I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air;
because it repenteth Noah that I have created them, and that I have made them; and he hath called upon me; for they have sought his life.
These changes do several things. First, Noah, not the LORD, is the direct object of the strange English construction “it repenteth S.O.” This gets God out of repenting, kind of. (The Hebrew nicham means “to feel remorse, change one’s mind” not “to turn away from sin.” God can and does nicham in the Bible.) But the other effect is that the worldwide destroy-everything flood comes, because it “repenteth Noah” and humans have tried to kill him.
Doesn’t that strike anyone as, well, overkill? The JST, a reworking and commentary of sorts on the KJV, while trying to fix the archaic English problem of God repenting, gets us into an even bigger problem, with a God who kills everyone because… Noah feels sad and threatened.
I did not bring this up with the Seminary class. I’m new in the area, and would have needed to go through several layers to explain things, all of which would have been outside their norm, I think, like the nature of the JST, the nature of Moses, what we do and don’t know, the nature of the flood story in the Old Testament, etc. (See my commentary on the flood text and our typical quasi-fundamentalist reading of it.
But again, I haven’t really interacted with teenagers much since I was a teenager. Can seminary students understand and profit from that kind of discussion? Or are we still kind of on the level of “here’s a story, here’s what it means”? How much complexity can seminary students handle (which assumes a teacher prepared to teach it to them)?