The first edition of the Book of Mormon
How does the Book of Mormon compare to other literary works?
….If, on the other hand, we deny the philosophy or the fact of spiritual communication between the living and those who have died, we deny the very fountain from which emanated the great truths or principles which were the foundation of both the ancient and modern Church.
By Rollo Romig, The New Yorker, February 9, 2015.
Editors, statesmen, philosophers, priests, and lawyers, as well as the common people, began to advocate the principle of converse with the dead, by visions, divination, clairvoyance, knocking, and writing mediums, &c., &c. This spiritual philosophy of converse with the dead, once established by the labors, toils, sufferings, and martyrdom of its modern founders, and now embraced by a large portion of the learned world, shows a triumph more rapid and complete-a victory more extensive, than has ever been achieved in the same length of time in our world.
, The Joseph Smith Papers, p. 7. Spelling retained. Emphasis added.
Evidence indicates strongly that it is the latter. Glenn Miller has performed an analysis of this question which we will draw upon, though we shall not delve too deeply into the issue - which would require writing another essay entirely. The net of the data is: 1) Both the content of Scripture, and its cultural context, demonstrate that justification for anti-Semitism is no more found in the NT generally or the trial accounts specifically, than is justification for racism or any other sin of your choice; 2) Responsibility for the death of Jesus is placed upon, in order - a) the Jewish leadership; b) Jerusalemite Jews, in particular, the crowd before Pilate; c) Pilate and Herod.
Evelyn M. Wood Lovejoy, , p. 646. (1911)
A third basic presupposition of Dispensational theology is the alleged unconditional covenant with Abraham, to be fulfilled physically and literally for the Jewish people in the future Davidic/millennial kingdom. Beginning with the promises of God to Abraham in Genesis 12, 15 and 17, the Dispensationalist argues for a literal fulfillment of these promises for the physical race and nation of the Jews. Such fulfillment is alleged to be the epitome of God's intent and the primary message of the Bible. Charles Ryrie states that "the goal of history is the earthly millennium...(which is) the climax of history and the great goal of God's program for the ages." John E. Walvoord further explains that "the Abrahamic covenant furnishes the key to the entire Old Testament...(and) sets the mold for the entire body of Scripture truth." Does this not appear to be the application of a particular "grid" over the interpretation of all the Scriptures? Though the Dispensationalist argues for a literalistic hermeneutic for Biblical interpretation, the primary meaning of "literal" has to do with accordance to the intent of the author and to the literary genre employed, rather than "face-value" subjectivism that creates a "mold" for consistent understanding. Dispensationalism often charges those who recognize figurative and metaphorical language in the Scriptures with "spiritualizing" the interpretation of the text rather than accepting their literal interpretation. On the other hand, are Dispensationalists "secularizing" the interpretation of the Scripture texts by demanding physical, racial, national and religious preference for Israel? On what "literal" basis can it be claimed that God made an "unconditional" covenant with Abraham? The majority of Dispensationalists are wary of the Calvinistic doctrine of a predeterministic "unconditional election," so why are they so willing to accept the predeterministic "unconditional covenant" with Abraham, with no "literal" expression of such in Scripture?