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Brian Birch, “The Intellectual Life of Mormonism”

PHIL 2010, University of Utah 2016

This course explores the development and contemporary landscape of Mormon intellectual engagement. It examines key episodes in Latter-day Saint history that shaped the development of policies, practices, and movements related to the study of Mormonism. The course also addresses distinctive features of the tradition that have served to regulate and constrain forms of academic activity within the ranks of the LDS Church. Finally, the course will situate Mormon ideas and practices relative to perennial questions related to reason, faith, science, and revelation.


The Nineteenth Century Context: Perspicuity, Common Sense, & Revelation; The Early Twentieth Century: Roberts, Smith, Talmage, and Widtsoe; From the “Chicago Experiment” to the “Charted Course”; Institutional Contexts: Brigham Young University, University of Utah, and Stanford; “New Mormon” vs. “Faithful” Histories; Revelation, Authoritative Discourse, and Boundary Maintenance; Reason, Faith, and Theology; Mormon Studies and Apologetics; Contemporary Applications