If you haven’t yet done so, I would highly recommend that you register for the Academy for Temple Studies Conference that will take place next Wednesday, October 23, at Utah State University. I attended last year and found it to be one of the most exciting academic conferences I’ve ever attended. You can find out more and register here.
The Academy for Temple Studies is pattered after the Temple Studies Group that has existed in the United Kingdom for the past several years. The first conference took place last year and featured Margaret Barker who is considered by many (myself included), to be one of the most exciting Biblical scholars alive today. I am very excited that she will appearing at the conference again this year. She has done ground-breaking work related to the early Jewish understanding of the the nature of God and temples. While her work on temples and the worship of the son of God by early Jews is interesting to Mormons, (it should be noted that she is Methodist minister) her recent publication regarding the Jewish worship of a female deity, called “The Mother of the Lord,” is especially intriguing. This book was recently reviewed in the Interpreter here. Her presentation this year is entitled, “The Woman Clothed With the Sun in Revelation 12.” She will discuss the female figure that appears in the Book of Revelation and posit that the woman is actually the Mother of Yahweh.
Another exciting non-Mormon scholar who will be appearing at the conference is the archaeologist William Dever, author of “Did God Have a Wife,” reviewed in the FARMS Review of Books here. Dever will give an illustrated lecture that is based upon the findings reported in that book.
In my view, the conference would be worth attending if it only involved Barker and Dever. But is also includes a number of important and insightful Mormon scholars as well, not the least of which includes Valerie Hudson, someone who is well-known to those who have attended FairMormon Conferences during the past few years.
I hope that as many of you as can will join me in Logan next week for this exciting event.