Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Individual Papers - Discussion Thread

A thread on which one might bandy about ideas for the individual papers. (Thanks to Robert for the suggestion!)

3 Comments:

Blogger Adam S. Miller said...

Robert says:

Sorry these aren't notes from the seminar itself (I haven't had a chance to go back through the seminar yet), but one idea for a paper I've been thinking about is to look carefully at the dynamics of the different relationships in these Abraham chapters. I'm esp. intrigued with the way in which it seems Abraham effectively asks God for a sign in Gen 15:8. This verse is curiously placed right after the verse Paul made famous where Abraham is said to believe God "and [the LORD] counted it to him for righteousness." In a sense, it seems Abraham, at this stage of the story at least, is testing God. However, by Gen 22, it seems things have reversed, and God is testing Abraham.

Some initial questions: I wonder if I'm not trying to read too much into this verse and the reversal--after all, how does the original command to Abraham in Gen 12 fit into this? Does Abraham test God elsewhere? Do we see this same back-and-forth testing in other relationships (e.g. I think we sort of see this with the two Abimelech episodes, and maybe with Sarah--thanks Joe, for these leads). Curiously, Ahaz in Isaiah 7 seems to be condemned for not asking for a sign. Also, it's interesting how "sign" is mentioned in the fourth day of creation, which is about light, which becomes a really important theme in the D&C, not to mention the whole "seeing" theme in Gen 16 (which we talked a bit about on the blog). Sign-seeking is also an important theme in Alma 32, which seems to be a critical text in terms of forming Mormon ideas about faith. Reading Gen 15 in light of Alma 32, might we think that a kind of sign-seeking is OK after you've exercised a certain amount of faith? Can we ask for signs faithfully, in a way that is engaged, like how Abraham questions God in ch. 18, that allows for a distinction between faithful sign-seeking and faithless sign-seeking?

1:15 PM  
Blogger Adam S. Miller said...

Robert,

I think the question of signs and/or the testing that such signs imply is a crucial question - especially with respect to understanding the dynamic of a relationship. I don't know that I have any helpful comments to add in response to your questions, but I'm interested in where this may take you.

My best,
Adam

2:16 PM  
Blogger Joe Spencer said...

I don't know how much help this may be for anyone working on a paper, but I've been working back through these chapters in teaching seminary (early morning) this year, and I've been podcasting all of my lessons. We're in chapter 25, though the site has been giving me a little trouble this week, so I have not yet got any of my lessons on the Akedah up (we spent three or four days on it). But anyone can feel free to go listen to any of these lectures and see what comes of them:

http://othonors.mypodcast.com

8:29 PM  

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