About Me

This blog is an attempt on my part to provide a forum for my research, thoughts, and experiences as a student of language, religion, the Bible, and the ancient Near East. Originally from West Virginia, I’ve also lived in Maryland, California, Colorado, Texas, Uruguay, Utah, the United Kingdom, and Washington State. I was married in May of 2006 to my special lady from Utah and have three precocious little girls. I received my bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in ancient Near Eastern studies, where I focused on Biblical Hebrew and minored in Classical Greek. I  completed a master of studies in Jewish studies at the University of Oxford in July of 2010 and a master of arts in biblical studies in 2013 at Trinity Western University just outside of Vancouver, BC. In early 2020, I defended my doctoral dissertation written for the University of Exeter on the cognitive science of religion and the conceptualization of deity and divine agency in the Hebrew Bible. In 2018, I was the Democratic candidate for the Utah State House of Representatives in House District 52, taking 16 points off the incumbent’s long-held 50-point lead. At the moment I am the Democratic candidate for the Utah State Senate in Senate District 10 for the 2020 election. I currently work as a scripture translation supervisor for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, and I adjunct teach in the Ancient Scripture Department at Brigham Young University.

While I have a number of research interests that wrangle for what free time I have available, my areas of specialization are Second Temple Judaism, early Israelite religion, textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, early christology, the cognitive science of religion, cognitive linguistics, and religious identity. At Oxford I focused on Second Temple Judaism, and my thesis was entitled “Anti-Anthropomorphism and the Vorlage of LXX Exodus” (available here). My thesis at Trinity Western University focused on the conceptualization of deity in the Hebrew Bible in cognitive perspective (available here). I have also been studying the way these conceptualizations of deity informed the development of the Christ tradition (I published a paper on this in 2017). My dissertation at the University of Exeter examines the concept of divine agency in early Israelite and Jewish thought and practice through the lens of the cognitive science of religion. It seeks to answer questions related to the use of divine images in antiquity and how they were both identified with and distinguished from their associated deities.

In addition to the study of religion, I do quite a bit of artwork (some here, and I also do the cartoon for Biblical Archaeology Review’s cartoon caption contest), I was a licensed massage therapist (I let my license expire & just work on family & friends now), and I love to play golf. I hope you find something educational, useful, or entertaining here, and I invite any and all comments here on my blog. Have a wonderful day!

79 responses to “About Me

  • Garth Gilmour

    Dear Daniel

    Surprised to see my name in your intro… where have we met? If you are at Yarnton any time, drop in and see me. I’m normally there Mon – Wed, but best to email or call in advance. I don’t recall meeting you, but that doesn;t mean much (I turn 50 this year…).


    • Carol A Hogan

      It surprises me that he doesn’t mention he’s an Apologist for the Mormon cult.

      • Daniel O. McClellan

        Lol, Carol. You’ve been trolling me for literally a decade. You really don’t have anything better to do?

      • Dan

        He’s an apologist for his leftist cult. I asked him direct questions about his views on Right-to-Life issues as a both a Democrat and a Latter-day Saint, he has refused to answer them in a forthcoming manner.

      • Daniel O. McClellan

        Yeah, that’s simply a lie. I very directly, openly, and honestly answered your questions, they just didn’t give you the rhetorical ammo you were looking for, so you moved the goalposts to try to find a better way to lay your rhetorical snare and I wasn’t interested in playing those games. That was a couple weeks ago, too, so the cyberstalking doesn’t reflect particularly well on you. I know I’m doing something right, though, when I have unthinking ideologues on both sides getting upset with me.

  • Daniel O. McClellan

    We met at SBL in San Diego when you were raving about how phenomenal it was to find jeans in the United States that only cost $50. I told you I was interested in the program at Oxford and we talked for a while about it. You gave me your card and told me to drop by if I was ever near Oxford.

    Ironically, it dawned on me a couple days ago that you might come across this and not remember me. Thanks for giving me the chance to clarify. By the way, I’ll be in your upcoming archaeology of ancient Israel class. Looking forward to it!

  • Ken Brown

    Nice new blog!

    I’ll resist the urge to defend the “interestingness” of the Second Temple Period… for now. 😉

  • Daniel O. McClellan

    Thanks for the kind words Ken! And my comment was with tongue firmly in cheek. I love the Second Temple Period (reading 2 Maccabees and Josephus is what made me want to study the Bible), but I just can’t spend too much time away from pre-Exilic Israel.

    PS – Ken, I see you’re at TWU. I was a week away from landing there for my MA when I got my acceptance letter from Oxford. Peter Flint and Rob Hiebert came and visited us at BYU a couple years ago and were great. Rob even reviewed a paper for me last year. I hope you’re enjoying your time up there.

  • Ken Brown

    Yes, Trinity is great, but I’m insanely jealous that you got to go to Oxford.

    Are you doing the Jewish Studies MA this year (2009) or were you there for 2008? A friend of mine from Trinity was there in 2008, Chelica Hiltonen, if you might have met her.

  • Daniel O. McClellan

    I’m doing it this year. Let me know if you know anyone who’ll be there between now and next June, and just to make you feel better, here’s our little cottage (we have the top floor):

  • Ken Brown

    Oh, yeah, I feel much better now! 😉

  • Patrick George McCullough

    Daniel, I’m quite impressed that you made the Top 50 just a month into blogging! I was just now drawn to your blog with your mention of John Collins (I’m working through apocalyptic stuff myself–academically, not personally).

    It appears that we have at least two things in common outside our biblioblogging activities. We both had our first baby born in December of 2008 (hurrah!). Also, both of our full names sound really cool when said with an Irish or Scottish accent.

    [By the way, you might want to discontinue your method of publishing your email address and opt for something less easily snatchable by spambots.]

  • Daniel O. McClellan

    Hey, thanks Patrick. I appreciate it. I started reading Collins because he’s going to have a lot to do with my next term and I’ll be applying to Yale this January. I’m really enjoying his writing, and I’m looking forward to his more recent King and Messiah as Son of God.

    Congrats on the baby! I hope you’re getting more sleep than I am. Regarding our awesome names, I’ll be heading up to Scotland with my family when I get done at Oxford. We’re going to go get some authentic McClellan tartan and visit our ancestors’ castle. Should be a blast being hip deep in Scots, although we say “y’all” a lot, so we may not fit in.

    Thanks for the comments, Patrick. Maybe I’ll see you in New Orleans.

  • Kyle Rushnell

    Hey Daniel,

    I love your blog! keep up the good scholarship brother! I am always enlighten when I read stuff here on your blog. way to go man.

    God Bless & Shalom,

    Mark 12:29-31

  • Aaron Christianson

    Great Blog! you sound like me in your interests, and in your reasons for joining the biblioblogosphere.

  • Mike Aubrey


    I found your blog — well refound it. It looks like I commented once last October and without realizing the connection, you’ve actually been in my google reader for quite some time now. Going by a first name basis in class makes you miss the last name sometimes.

    Anyway, looking forward to that pub.

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      Funny how that happens, huh? James (the other MBIB guy from our LXX class) and I interacted with each other on the same message board for over a year before our program started. We realized at the programs orientation that we already knew each other.

  • Bob Moore

    I’m discussing with my brother, the likelihood that the book of Daniel has prophecy in it that was written after what it seems to be predicting. Have you posted or written anything on this?
    I’m especially interested in the claims made about Daniel 9, that supposedly is “correct to the day” in predicting the number of years from Artaxerxes’ word to rebuild Jerusalem until the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Do you think that is the case?
    Bob Moore

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      Hi Bob. Thanks for commenting. Daniel was definitely put into its final form in the Hellenistic Period. Pockets of the narrative may be earlier, but the prophetic sections clearly come from the Maccabean era. I’ve not written on this, although I am aware of the general scholarship. The number of years discussed in Daniel 9 is just a rhetorical way to reconcile the rebuilding of the temple with the clear absence of millennial-type restoration. It provides a new prophetic narrative for Israel’s restoration. In my opinion, any attempt to line up the years with any historical context misses the point of the rhetoric.

  • Ed Babinski

    Dan, I have read that Job 37:18 (about God spreading out the sky/clouds as hard as a bronze/molten mirror http://bible.cc/job/37-18.htm ) is translated differently in the Septuagint. In fact the word translated as “mirror” only appears once in the Hebrew Bible, so its meaning is uncertain even in the Hebrew. Could you please shed some light on the English translation of Job 37:18 in the Septuagint? I have discovered two different translations, one older, one relatively recent:

    Wilt thou establish with him [foundations] for the ancient [heavens? they are] strong as a molten mirror. — THE BOOK OF JOB, from THE BRENTON TRANSLATION OF THE SEPTUAGINT, 1851

    Click to access septuagint-18-job.pdf

    *solidifications are with him for things grown old, *strong like an appearance of outpouring* — THE NETS TRANSLATION, 2007 http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/28-iob-nets.pdf

    I’d like to know what the verse means, or if anyone can say with any certainty what each part of the verse most probably means.

    Any assistance would be appreciated. I noticed that you were mentioned in the latest Biblical Studies Carnival as a biblioblogging expert on the Septuagint, so I thought I’d send you this question.

    Thanks for any and all possible assistance,


    • Daniel O. McClellan

      Thanks for the question, Ed. This really is an interesting one. The Septuagint manuscripts have markings at this verse which show it is a Hexaplaric addition taken, most likely, from Theodotion‘s revision of the Septuagint. This means it comes from a very literal translation.

      The Hebrew of this verse uses the verb תרקיע, which means to spread out. We’re not sure exactly where the root comes from, but it either has a fundamental sense of spreading, stamping, or beating firmly, or one of patching or repairing. In the Qal, the verb appears at 2 Sam 22:43; Isa 42:5; 44:24; Ps 136:6; Ezek 6:11; 25:6. In the Piel it appears at Exod 39:3; Num 17:4; Isa 40:19. It appears in the Pual once at Jer 10:9, and in the Hiphil only in our verse.

      The Greek word here is στερεωσεις, which only appear elsewhere at Ezek 4:7 and in later quotations of both texts. It is related to words like στερεωσισ, “making firm,” and στερεωματιζω, “to stamp, trample out.”

      In LXX Job 37:18 the translation is quantitatively literal, although not very literal semantically. That means each constituent element is represented, although the sense of each element, and their combined interpretation, may not match our reading of the Masoretic Text. This may also arise because of small differences between MT and the parent text the translator translated from. This probably explains why the first two elements of the Hebrew are pretty accurately transmitted, but the third, “the skies” in Hebrew, is rendered “things grown old” in the Greek. The second half of the verse is likely following the same Hebrew text, but the Greek follows quite slavishly the Hebrew: “strong as the seeing of stuff poured out,” rather than “strong as a molten mirror.”

      The reference to the “firmament” in both the Hebrew and the Greek is likely the same. The skies were viewed as an expansive solid dome over the earth throughout much of Israelite history. God was the one who fashioned this expanse, whether they considered it hammered out, stretched out, carved out, or what. By the time of the Greek translation this vision of a solid dome likely didn’t hold, but the translation is more concerned about a very literal translation than about ideology, it seems, especially considering the bizarre rendering of the second half of the verse.

      Hope that helps some.

      • Ed Babinski

        Thanks! You wouldn’t know any more about the Hebrew term translated as “mirror” would you? How did the Hebrew translators arrive at “mirror?” Or perhaps you know an expert on Hebrew whom you could forward that question to, or whom I could contact?

      • Daniel O. McClellan

        I can help out. Hebrew is my specialization. The Hebrew word is just a noun related to the noun מראה, which means “vision,” or “appearance.” The context in Job supports reading the word as related to some kind of metalwork.

      • Ed Babinski

        Thanks again! By the way, I edited a book titled, Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists, and have noticed that quite a few moderates-liberals come out of relatively more conservative backgrounds. Was that the case for you as well?

        I’m also interested in ANE parallels to the OT, and had a chapter on “The Cosmology of the Bible” published in April in a book titled, The Christian Delusion. My chapter is not very confrontational at all, especially for theistic evolutionist Christian readers, though I do point out even for them that they are admitting the Bible begins and ends with myths. I also have received many positive statements from readers who enjoyed my discussion of Egyptian and Babylonian cosmic geography not just Hebrew.

        If you’d like a copy of the chapter I can snail mail you one.

        Also, have you seen Thom Stark’s new book, The Human Faces of God? Check him out on the internet, including his new collaborative site, Religion at the Margins. Amazingly adroit and scholarly take down of inerrancy, something that seems is always needed each generation.

  • Daniel O. McClellan

    Hi Ed. No, I didn’t come from a more conservative background. I would characterize my position before I became LDS as agnostic. I brought very few presuppositions with me about the Bible, and so approached it from a more critical point of view. Our faith community also tends to take a more liberal view of scripture, so there is little conservativeness to confront.

    I’d be happy to take a look at your chapter. I’m always interested in other positions on Israelite cosmology and cosmogony.

    I am aware of Stark’s book, but I haven’t had a chance (or the funds) to take a look at it. It seems his book consolidates a number of contemporary movements in biblical scholarship to point them toward a specific conclusion, and based on what I’ve heard, there’s a lot of good data. At the same time, I hold to distinct views on some issues. I’d like to review it, especially since it has a lot to do with my thesis, but I don’t know where anyone is looking for reviewers.

    • Ed Babinski

      Hi Dan, I thought I’d sent my original query to two bibliobloggers, only one of which was Mormon. Now I’m confused, perhaps both of you are Mormon? You both were mentioned in the latest Biblical Studies Carnival in the Septuagint section. But you responded. The other person has not responded. And thanks again for the excellent responses.

      I worked with a wonderful Mormon woman at the public library over 20 years ago, we both laughed a lot. I also know several ex-Mormons. And I’ve spoken in the past with a few Mormon missionaries. I’d say Mormons appear relatively liberal compared with some species of fire and brimstone fundamentalist Christians. But on the other hand I’m sure there’s some very devout Mormons as well who are very serious about their holy books, rituals, tithing, no caffienated tea or coffee, etc.

      I also read that Mormons give more of their income to the church on average than any other Christian organization. Significantly more on average. And that a lot of sermons are about the necessity of tithing. Which perhaps leads me to the topic of the price of Thom’s book and your present financial circumstances. I’d be happy to purchase a copy for you, and send it to you along with a copy of my article on biblical cosmology. I bet you and Thom agree on a lot of matters concerning the Bible’s errancy, or questions pertaining to that topic.

      Lastly, being a collector of testimonies I always enjoy reading about people’s personal journeys, especially any miraculous stories. I know for instance that shock-rock star Alice Cooper was raised Mormon, and had an infection inside his organ cavity that doctor’s determined that could do nothing about when he was young, so they closed him up and told his parents he was a goner, but his parents prayed and he recovered. Alice never wrote a song against religion for that very reason.

      Of course anti-gay Mormons have gotten some bad press for spending so much money to try and tilt the voting on Proposition 18 in California.

      And being a biology major in college, I recall reading that the genetic evidence doesn’t seem to support Mormon beliefs concerning the origin of North American peoples.

      But nuff said, I’m sure you’ve heard it all.

      I do recall reading something very nice said by an editor of Christianity Today about Mormonism the year that the Southern Baptists held their annual convention in Salt Lake City and went door to door trying to convert Mormons to the SBC. That was over 15 years ago I think. But he admitted that he didn’t feel comfortable with the SBC trying to convert Mormons via TV and billboard ads in Salt Lake City, and added that he knew some great Mormons, related to him, who lived in Utah and who had adopted needy children, and that he was impressed with their love and sincerity toward God and their neighbor.

      I think everyone tries on religious beliefs and if they fit, they stick with them, if they don’t fit, they will fall away naturally with age and wisdom, or due to some other circumstances combined with age and wisdom.

      • Daniel O. McClellan

        Thanks for the comments, Ed. I’ll start from the end and work toward the beginning. I think there’s some truth to the notion that people try religious beliefs out and stick with them if they fit, whatever that may mean to each person. I can’t say that everything about Mormonism is a perfect fit for me (for instance, I don’t oppose gay marriage), but I’ve found that it makes me a better person and that, in short, it works. I investigated several other religious traditions before this one and never saw results like I see now.

        I hadn’t heard that about the Christianity Today editor. That’s interesting, and not what I usually hear from Baptists about that experience. I had nothing to do with the church back then, so I don’t have any strong connection to that event, but I’ve heard a bit about it, and I’m glad that the LDS in that editor’s life could set a good example. Unfortunately, it tends to be far more influential when a Mormon sets a bad example.

        On biology, that’s an interesting issue, but I find the rhetoric usually goes far beyond what the evidence actually supports. The biggest issue is what kind of geographic model the reader extrapolates from the Book of Mormon. Many traditional Latter-day Saints believe the book narrates civilizations stretching from the southern tip of South America all the way to Canada, and that the Lehite migration accounts for all Native Americans. Most academically-oriented Latter-day Saints will argue for what they call a limited geography model, which sees the civilizations of the narrative confined to a small portion of Central America, and representing only a fraction of the Native American genetic heritage. The former is problematized to a large degree by DNA research, but the latter is not. If you’re interested, a good primer on the question by a Latter-day Saint geneticist who specializes in Native American population genetics can be found here:


        On gay marriage, I’m not an opponent, but I think both sides of the debate are letting the rhetoric take over, which only serves to polarize the participants even further.

        There’s a little “i’m a mormon” link in my sidebar that opens up my profile on the church’s website if you want a bit more of my thoughts on my conversion and experiences.

        Latter-day Saints are expected to give 10% of their income for tithing. There isn’t a consistent emphasis on tithing over other principles in LDS preaching (things like pornography, finding happiness, being good to your family and neighbors, faith in Christ, fidelity to temple covenants, and morality are always the biggest issues), but it is something Latter-day Saints try to take seriously. Every month each congregation is also asked to fast for a 24 hour period and donate at least the money they would have spent on food to the congregation for local use in caring for sick and otherwise needy members. This is called the fast offering.

        I’d be ecstatic to accept your very gracious offer, by the way. Books are sometimes better than food for a poor grad student, and this looks like a particularly interesting book. Your chapter will also be informative. A lot of my research focuses on early ideas on cosmology and cosmogony (one of my papers at SBL this year was on the notion of theogony in early Israel), and specifically within the wider Near Eastern literary context. I very much appreciate it.

        There are definitely liberal and conservative positions on scripture and other ideologies within the Mormon church, but my experience has mostly been in the former. I’ve been around people my age and academics through most of my experience in the church. Even as a missionary in Uruguay I found most of the people with whom I spoke were closer to that camp.

        I’m always happy if I can help out someone in their research. I didn’t think there was another LDS person blogging on Septuagint, though. The Biblical Studies Carnival lists John Meade as the other guy in the Septuagint section, and I believe he’s a Baptist. Is there someone else you’re aware of?

        Thanks again for the comments and for your offer. I’ll shoot you an email so you have my address (I don’t often use the one above).

    • Ed Babinski

      Thanks for that kindly worded reply, I’ll need your address so I can send you Thom’s book.

      I’m also going to read your story on the Mormon page. I only skimmed it last night.

      On religions that work, they all have the potential to work, just as a wide variety of human cultures are possible according to sociologists who have studied cultures with some odd ideas and customs. A book by a sociologist named Harris, called OUR KIND, and other works by the same author opened my eyes to such variety.

      I suspect that you’d like there to be more universally recognized positive evidence in favor of ancient history as depicted in the Book of Mormon, and less of a need to have to explain how it “might” be true regardless of questions raised by archaeology and biology.

      You mentioned that some traditional Mormons believed that Hebrews occupied the Americas, while today’s more savvy apologists suggest a far smaller and less genetically distinct group — outnumbered and interbreeding with native populations. That reminds me of the modern day creationist downsizing of the numbers of humans living on earth during the time of the Flood of Noah. Today’s savvy creationist say only a couple thousand humans lived then, and in a limited area on the earth, hence, they say, their bones are unlikely to ever turn up, nor the brick walls of their dwellings, nor anything they made out of metal or wood. That explains the lack of evidence for pre-Flood man in the fossil record, small numbers, and God wanted to wipe all traces of them out completely. But do such answers satisfy the need we all feel for universally acceptable positive evidence?

      Today’s creationists also resort to a “local Flood” scenario rather than a worldwide Flood.

      By downsizing stories and expectations of ever finding evidence, one can believe, well, anything.

      Take the inspiration of the Bible. Just downsize that to, “parts of it are inspired and truthful,” mainly the parts dealing with religious doctrines that lie behind an impenetrable metaphysical curtain, and hence are not universally recognized as true.

      I struggled with such questions as a Christian. I would have liked more universally recognized positive evidence, including first person accounts concerning the miracles of Jesus. It would also be nice to read even in the NT about the “resurrection of many raised saints who entered the holy city and appeared to many.” Because those two lines from Matthew about the raised saints are succeeded and followed by the same lines in Mark who leaves out those brief Matthean lines of a tremendous miraculous resurrection of unnamed saints from graves. And the story is picked up again by no one in the NT. The ending of the earliest Gospel story about Jesus also puzzled me (“the women were very afraid and told no one”–so when did the story of the empty tomb first arise if they told no one? was it a later legend?) Some suggest that the ending of Mark was lost (and Christians composed three alternative added endings, which we possess). Both the ending of the oldest Markan manuscripts (“they told no one”) and the idea of a “lost ending” that at least three Christian authors simply felt they could “replace,” troubled my mind. How or why would God allow the original ending of the very first Gospel to be lost? And if the earliest Gospel was originally on a scroll, how does one “lose” the ending of a scroll, since it’s in a relatively safe place rolled inside the whole scroll? Theologians are still guessing concerning such matters.

      I was also bothered by the prima facie evidence of the growth over time of the number of words and alleged lectures allegedly delivered by the raised Jesus from 1 Cor. to Mark-Matthew-Luke-Acts-John. Was the story true or simply grew over time as one might expect from legends accumulating and growing more descriptive?

      And how many questions was I expected to ignore? Even the way the story changed at the empty tomb, from Mark and Matthew’s story in which the “young man” or “angel” say, “He is not here, but has gone before you to Galilee, there ye shall see him,” to the different story told in the last written Gospels, Luke and John where the apostles are told to “remain in Jerusalem” and Jesus appears in and around Jerusalem rather than “going before them to Galilee, for there ye shall see him.”

      And then I thought, what about the way Jesus enters Jersualem seen by crowds shouting hosanna, but after his resurrection Jesus leaves relatively quietly, not in triumph, no crowds seeing him go, but is only seen by the apostles per Luke-Acts, rising into heaven. That’s pretty quiet compared to how he entered Jerusalem. Luke even adds that Jesus proved he was “not a spirit,” “ate fish,” then “led them [out of Jerusalem] to Bethany” from when he rose into heaven. So, the raised Jesus was walking the streets of Jerusalem out a city gate, no Hosannas, nothing (per Luke).

      There’s other questions related to the resurrection that also concerned me. But in the end I didn’t see much point becoming a moderate and liberal Christian. I tried reading some moderate Evangelicals, like the witty and charming Robert Farrar Capon, that I enjoyed greatly, and also tried some Tillich (and even Reformed inerrantist apologists). But the questions continued to concern me. Today I tend to doubt that people can all love the same thing. Neither can I conceive of any infinite Being who would expect people to all love the same stories, and the same theological and metaphysical explanations. People don’t even love the same sorts of music. My former attraction/focus on Jesus also waned, but I must admit that was over a period of many years (I was raised Catholic, became born again, and was even charismatic throughout college before I began reading more widely concerning theology, science, history, etc.).

      • Daniel O. McClellan

        Thanks for the comments, Ed. I agree with you that, from an academic point of view, a limited geography theory for the Book of Mormon looks like a retreat to the threshold of what the evidence can falsify. It didn’t arise out of apologetic contexts, though. Joseph Smith was the first to suggest it when he made comments about a city discovered in Mesoamerican possibly being the location of a specific city discussed in the Book of Mormon. In the text that city is south of a “narrow neck of land” which divided the northern portion of the land from the southern. The city that was discovered was north of Panama, however, which had been assumed by many to be that “narrow neck of land.”

        The tension between those comments and the traditional view led a guy named Sorenson to write a book based on a geographic model internal to the Book of Mormon. He decided to see what kind of geography, independent of any known locales, the text alone described. He provided what he believed to be a real-world parallel to his model, and since then other apologists have been trying to fit his and similar models to different locations in the Americas.

        There is also some decent evidence in favor of some of the positions to which Latter-day Saints hold about early links between the Old and New World. It’s not proof by any means, and the strength of the evidence is debated, but they’re not simply arguing from silence. Some unique Book of Mormon toponyms and personal names have been found in ancient records, and one scholar of Uto-Aztecan languages has even shown a large degree of overlap in their lexica, phonology, and morphology with those of Afro-Asiatic and Semitic languages.

        On the other hand, I’m not really that concerned with evidence for Book of Mormon historicity. The different geographic, demographic, and historical models people produce to support and undermine the Book of Mormon rely on too much assumption and speculation for me to feel comfortable hanging my faith on them, or denying my faith because of them. I joined the church because of experiences I’ve had with living the gospel’s principles, and I remain a member because those experience continue to be confirmed and because it improves my life and the lives of those around me. I recognize that from a purely academic point of view ours is the weaker position, but I also recognize the methodological limitations of the academic approach and the scientific method, especially when it comes to questions of the supernatural. I operate professionally within those methodological boundaries, and I understand their purpose and value, so I leave my religious beliefs out of it.

    • Ed Babinski

      Thanks Dan for that excursus on the state of Mormon apologetics. I certainly can’t speak for your personal experiences except to say that positive ones can be found among all religions, denominations, cults, etc. And I also admit that a sense of certainty and a regulation of one’s beliefs via a church can produce a serenity and happiness that living with uncertainties and outside any social circle of fellow believers probably cannot produce. Though I also suspect people of differing religious/philosophical views can get along since we all live in the same general culture and work at jobs beside each other and need not haggle over religious beliefs at all since life consists of a host of shared and interesting things.

      I also sensed from your knowledge and description of Mormon apologetics that such intellectual questions matter to you, the intellectual side of you.

      I would probably question how many language parallels are due to seeing what an apologist wants to see, and how many might be due to inherent commonalities of language formation even in distant regions of the world, and how many might be pure coincidences.

      And the idea of a city south of a narrow neck of land, sounds more like a cold reading by a psychic in its generality. How many other cities dotted that ancient landscape both “above” and “below” Panama and throughout Mexico and South America? No doubt some cities were founded near Panama as well, so that seems like a prophecy that one couldn’t get wrong even if one wanted.

      Be that as it may, I sincerely appreciate your openness and your informative posts, and your liberal views. We share a lot of understandings on a host of subjects no doubt.

  • Ed Babinski

    Speaking of Mormonism, I can’t help but mention Laci Green, a charismatic young female raised Mormon who left the fold. She’s quite the young spokesmodel. I suspect that women are part of what can draw a man to almost any belief system. At least that’s been part of the story for some of my friends, even for my best friend who was driven home in high school by a young charismatic female Christian, and soon converted after she drove him to a few living room meetings. I’ve heard other stories as well, and such stories can lead in any religious direction. I’ve also read some recent studies that show men are led to make less discerning choices after they see an attractive woman. *smile* Anyway Laci’s gotten 3.5 million views of her relatively few videos on youtube, is into organizing, and blogs about female atheists on the web, her deconversion, and about being the lone atheist in a Mormon family. Did I mention she’s also funny?

  • Thom Stark

    Señor Dan,

    I noticed your “discussion” with Master Bowman. In case you’re interested, here’s the list of all the posts on 2 Kings 3:

    One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Number six actually isn’t about 2 Kings 3, but it continues on from number five, so I included it.

    Also, posts engaging Hess on Deut 32: One, two.

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      Thanks for the list, Thom. It looks like our discussion may be over, but it’s good to have the resources. Are you familiar with Rob?

      • Thom

        I’ve read his book and I had an exchange with him on a blog once. I enjoyed reading what he thinks of my book. 🙂

        Thanks for all the good work you do.

  • Jim

    hey buddy- dont forget, you’re hosting the august carnival (covering july posts) scheduled for august 1. if you put out a call for submissions let me know so i can help spread the word.

    and thanks again for doing it. really appreciate it.

  • Sue

    How do I email you to vote for a top ten biblioblogger?

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      bibliobloggerstop10 ~ at ~ yahoo.com. I’ve not been promoting it this month because I’ve been too busy, though, so there aren’t any votes so far. I will make a more concerted effort to do so in September, so I can put any votes you have toward that month if you’d like.

  • Philip Engmann (@philipengmann)

    Hi Daniel. Let’s discuss OT TC (Old Testament Textual Criticism). Thanks. Philip.

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      Hi Philip. Thanks for the comment. I hope you will understand, but I am in the middle of a quite busy semester at school and work. This is the primary reason for not having blogged in some time. I got your email, and I will try to look over the document you sent along, but I’m afraid I have to ask for some time.

  • anonymous

    Hello Daniel,
    I am a student in Paul Derengowski’s World Religions class that you have blogged about…I am a muslim and have been violated in the way he is teaching these religions. He completely bashes the Mormon and Islamic religions..Me and another Muslim student spoke up against him as we quickly realized he was teaching Islam in such a horrible way, and proving our beliefs wrong in front of the whole classroom. He also made us do the mock trials and had me and the other student on the side of Islamic defense, as well as the Mormon mock trial, in which I was also on defense. I put his name on google, and so many inappropriate pages showed up where he is bashing these religions..I am taking them to the dean of our college, and I just thought you should know this.. He is an evil man! Teaching the students the wrong things about other religions.

    • Student

      Randa – (Anonymous)

      Seriously! How do you know the beliefs of Mormonism? Have you studied them? Have you researched them? I have lived in a state with a strong Mormon community. The comments Professor D made, I’ve heard before, without being given the opportunity to hear his research. You aren’t the first person in the world to criticize the Mormon beliefs. A lady I work with, her husband is an x-Mormon. His views on Mormonism aren’t any different that Professor D’s.

      Thanks to you and the other student in the class we were robbed of the opportunity to hear Professor D’s research (30 years of education). Your religion was not portrayed to the class in an evil way – As you will recall – thanks to you and the other student in the class we were unable to finish the lectures of the Islam religion. Our class was lectured on two slides of his research. One thing you’ve left out in your untruthful rant – the book required for the class was approved by the school, not the professor. Your “prophet” is portrayed in the textbook approved by the education entity as a killer. The book your religion believes in – the Quran – also states this.

      You’ve also left out the fact this professor has been teaching the same class, same information and same syllabus, approved by the education entity, for over three years.

      Our class as well as the instructor was verbally threatened with our safety by the actions of you and the other student. Our class has been discriminated against by the administration of the school. The lecture was secretly taped which is against the Student Handbook. I’m wondering why weren’t you and the other student suspended from the school? You’re attempting to portray yourself as a victim and the real victims are the 30-35 students who have been robbed of the opportunity of learning the history and beliefs of other religions. Like any other class – you take from the class what you want and leave the rest behind. So anonymous, what do you think the class has “taken” from your religion based on your actions?

      In the slanderous email you sent to the entire class, you stated you would not be returning to the class. However, you were there Thursday night. Also if you will remember – Professor D asked the entire class prior to his lectures on Islam, “when the religion of Islam is mentioned what do we think of?” Several people made comments. My thought of Islam – 9/11. After the rants of you and the other student – one of the students stated the way the two of you behaving is her true belief of Islam and found it scary.

      As the other student left the class – he stated “you should be scared”. This threat was made to the entire class and the professor and is against the school policy – yet – the administration has allowed you to keep attending the class. Why hasn’t the academic entity taken this into account? You were also asked by the professor how well you knew your religion and you stated very well. I’m wondering – if you know your religion “so well” is the behavior you and the other student displayed to the class viewed as acceptable? You must be blatantly blind to the millions of people who are very discriminatory against your religion.

      • Rafe

        This is classroom fascism at best. Perhaps you should take time to re-educate yourself as it is clear that you have little to no understanding of non-traditional or non-Christian religions. If a professor teaches with bias and intellectual slant then their integrity is in question. Go back to school.

  • David Natanel

    I had just posted here on the Elkington Paleo-Hebrew matter. I used to be able to type in Paleo-Hebrew letters, on an older computer now long since dead. Been writing with them for years. 40 years ago, I had a professor who used to pace up and down the front row of students during lecture, twisting his head to look at our notes. I switched to using Paleo-Hebrew letters. He was fluent in Hebrew so I to do something original!

    I hope you have a great and interesting scholarly life ahead of you. I am thrilled to know that someone wants to pursue more than just business and money in this day and age. Thought about taking a doctorate at Hebrew University? What a city in which to study ancient Israel!

    שלום וברכה
    -David Natanel (Haifa, Israel).

  • Update on “Religious Bigotry in a University Classroom?” « Daniel O. McClellan

    […] result of his bigoted approach to teaching. Apparently two Muslim students who had had enough (one of whom commented on my blog) repeatedly interrupted his class during a lecture and one made threatening remarks that made Paul […]

  • Jesse Nochella

    Daniel O. McClellan, I would like to know where I can find pictures of all the messianic tablets. I would like to give a try at decoding them on my own. I would be so happy to get a chance to do this.

    Thank you,

  • J

    For some years now, I’ve been an on-again, off-again investigator. Thank you for posting some of your information on here… it’s very helpful.

  • Ralph Ellis

    I note you extensively quote from Tom Verenna.
    I would not believe a word Verenna says. Verenna makes reviews without reading the book, and writes with an agenda rather than with balance. And then when he is caught out with errors and lies, he hides behind censorship like a little child, and will not debate his mistakes.

    Tom Verenna biography:

    [Ed. note: please see blog owner’s response here]

  • Scripturefocus

    I notice you don’t mention that you are a polytheist yourself – don’t you think that sort of colors your “research” Daniel?

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      Hi, Carol. No, my personal faith does not influence the academic positions I take. I’ve explained that directly to you on numerous, numerous occasions, and you’ve never even had the decency to acknowledge it, much less respond or challenge it.

  • joeziasJoe Zias

    Excellent investigative journalism, unlike other self proclaimed ‘investigative journalists’, on the deception found within the BAR Crowd. Question is, why does UNC-Charlotte, Huntington ‘University’, University of Nebraska and Hartford tolerate this academic abuse. Here in Israel, esp. in anthropology, it would not have been tolerated for a minute, but then it appears the above universities may have different academic standards. Keep up the good work.

  • joeziasJoe Zias

    Shalom, as they laid that SLAPP on me I’m setting up a web site detailing some of their ‘awards’ under the title “More Amazing Dis-Grace” and with your permission would like to link your excellent article on their ‘Con Festival Award’.
    Tabor won a similar award called the Hermes Award recently, if you did not see my comments on it, let me know and I’ll forward it. BTW, what you noted is not their first ‘try’ as this, if you are interested there are more, contact me off line.


    • Daniel O. McClellan

      Of course you may link to my post, Joe. Thank you. And yes, I have seen your recent comments.

      • joezias

        Shalom, I went to their web site to get some info. about all their awards and like I and others have always said, it’s nothing but hype.

        Case in point was their 2013  Canadian Banff Rockie award, for a film about anxiety in which they won first prize.  There were but four films in the category therefore everyone has a 25% chance of winning and as their Canadian film was the only Canadian film in the category, you know the rest….

          Joe Zias http://www.joezias.org


        Science and Antiquity – Jerusalem Jerusalem, Israel

        >________________________________ > From: Daniel O. McClellan >To: joezias@yahoo.com >Sent: Saturday, September 21, 2013 3:38 PM >Subject: [New comment] About Me > > > > WordPress.com >Daniel O. McClellan commented: “Of course you may link to my post, Joe. Thank you. And yes, I have seen your recent comments. ” >

  • The Late War and the Book of Mormon | Mormon Coffee

    […] But for this blog post, one thing I found quite notable was a comment made by Mormon apologist Daniel O. McClellan. Responding to another commenter who suggested that people in Joseph Smith’s time would have been […]

  • Allen McClellan

    Hi Daniel, I came across your blog while searching for a McClellan family crest, and was interested in your explanation of the meaning of the name McClellan. Could you refer me to a resource with a summary of the McClellan family history, including when and where they settled in the New World?

    I am also interested in the meaning of the different features of the family crest. My family is wanting to create one that is more personalized, while retaining some of the historical elements.


    Allen McClellan

  • mr. eidan

    have some books want to sel them

  • Nicole Campbell

    Hello. Do you have any suggestions on who I can find to read writings on a paleo coin I have? Thank you.

  • Dirk

    Hello Daniel. Would you clearly give credit to the Persians for introducing the concepts of The Devil, end times judgement, and the whole internal & cosmological dualism to Christianity? I’m a former Christian and I was wondering if I was correct in my assumptions that Jesus turned out to be a Judaism/Zoroastrian mix?

    The Christian explanation was that ‘After the Temple was destroyed the Jews no longer had a centralized place to worship so they had to universalize their religion.’ And then they argue that textual criticism on Zoroastrianism is all post Christian era. Also, are there ANY ‘Prophecies’ at all about Jesus in the OT that even somewhat impresses you? Although I dumped religion Isaiah 53 was always a little freaky to me. Thank you.

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      I wouldn’t “clearly give credit” to Zoroastrianism. There is certainly some influence, but influence is happening to some degree between all cultures making contact with each other. By the time of Jesus, though, it was Judaism and Greco-Roman worldviews interacting with each other. On messianism, Fitzmyer’s The One Who Is To Come is a great analysis of the Hebrew Bible and the development of messianism in early Christianity.

  • Dirk

    Oh ok thanks I’ll check that book out. Also somewhere you had an article or paper on the God vs Gods debate in Genesis I’ll have to find that and read that too, I came across it in that City forum…I have to say you come across as razor sharp when it comes to witty come backs!! You kept Crushing some poor guy called ‘Eusebius’ haha I was dying. Did you ever consider technical debates against pro-Christian Old Testament scholars? There’s a guy Dr Michael Brown who enjoys a good debate, considered the best Christian debater against orthodox Jews, he knows the Hebrew like yourself. I love debates but unfortunately they always seem to have the SAME NT topics, a really good technical Hebrew OT debate would be so nice for a change. Thanks a lot and take care.

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      Thanks, Dirk! I’ve not had many opportunities to debate about OT topics. I might be amenable to the idea, but I generally don’t find face-to-face debates very helpful.

      • Dirk

        Generally you’re right because debates don’t dig under the surface enough they are way too brief.

        So Daniel would you say that you are an OT minimalist? A lot of your posts talk about interpolations. Are there any conservative scholars that you give more respect to than most conservatives? Conservatives who you disagree with but who you AT LEAST have respect for their arguments? I want to dig into some technical ANE research and what I would like to do is get material from scholars on opposite sides of the spectrum and compare them. I’ve already bookmarked a couple of your impressive articles (will take a few reads to fully absorb). Can you by any chance respond with some links of your most impressive work?

        I’ve done more research by far on the NT side of the fence and there are a few conservative scholars that even have the respect of liberal scholars although they obviously disagree. Having never done too much OT research I was hoping you could recommend anyone who you personally think puts up the strongest conservative arguments? Who is critical in his/her inferences?

        Guys like Craig Keener, Craig Evans, Darrel Bock, Dan Wallace etc are great representatives for NT conservative scholarship. They give very fair representations to the liberal arguments, they don’t attack straw men. I’ve read their stuff along side of a few liberal NT authors in order to get both sides of the argument. I’d like to know who the best conservative scholar critics are on the ANE side of it and I think that your opinion would be one hell of a good one! I’ve already mentioned Michael Brown but was wondering who you have most respect for (research wise). Yeah it’s probably a weird question to ask for your favorite scholar whom you dissagree with but you probably know what i’m getting at lol. I love finding the best 2 representatives on opposite sides of an argument!!

      • Daniel O. McClellan

        Two conservative OT scholars with whom I disagree on a lot of things, but whom I also generally read because they’re quite informed, are Richard Hess and Abraham Malamat. My thesis advisor for one of my master’s degrees, Craig Broyles, is also very good. These guys aren’t apologists by any stretch of the imagination, but they are conservative in a lot of ways.

  • Dirk

    Awesome thanks a lot!!

  • P

    Dan, send me an email and let me know how you are doing.

  • Joshua Balog

    Hello! I am interested in reading your thesis from Trinity Western, but the link is dead.

  • P. Hoskisson

    Dan, Send me your email so we can chat.
    Paul Hoskisson

  • James White and Daniel O. McClellan: A Case Study in the Challenge that Mormon Academia Poses to Evangelical Apologetics – The Apotheosis Narrative

    […] previously-held discussion, I am not the first Mormon to voice concern in this regard either. Enter Daniel McClellan, followed by a brief introduction to James White:Daniel O. McClellan received his BA from Brigham […]

  • James White and Daniel McClellan: The Challenge of Mormon Academia for Evangelical Apologetics – The Apotheosis Narrative

    […] previously-held discussion, I am not the first Mormon to voice concern in this regard either. Enter Daniel McClellan, who I will briefly introduce, followed by James White:Daniel O. McClellan received his BA from […]

  • Penelope Main

    Hi Dan
    I am very interested in the changing concept of God from the early Bronze Age onward. I would like to read your work, however, the links to your theses do not work. Is this something that you can fix? could you email them to me? (I have downloaded your paper and very much appreciated the archaeological photos that you posted)
    Kind regards

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      Hi, Penelope! I’ve fixed the links to my two theses, so you should be able to access them now. Let me know if you have any trouble!

  • clarkmstr

    Hi Daniel,
    I greatly appreciate your blog and sharing of studies on the various topics. Could you by chance send me your email as I have a few questions if you have time for same? Thanks-

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