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Maxwell Institute Podcast

Scholars of religion discuss faith and scholarship

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#39—The seven last words of Jesus, with James Martin, SJ [MIPodcast]

The New Testament records seven phrases Jesus uttered as he hung on the cross:“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23.34)“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23.43)“Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.” (John 19.26–27)“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27.46; Mark 15.34)“I thirst.” (John 19.28)“It is finished.” (John 19.30)“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23.46)Many Christians reflect on these “seven last words” during Good Friday worship services (part of Easter weekend). Jesuit priest and New York Times best-selling author James Martin just published a devotional book called Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus. In this episode Martin talks about Jesus’s last words, and we reflect on the bridge between academic and devotional publishing.About James Martin, SJ James Martin, SJ is a Jesuit priest and editor of America: The National Catholic Review. He’s written for publications like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, he’s appeared in diverse venues like NPR, PBS, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, PBS, and Comedy Central (the latter as the official chaplain of the “Colbert Nation”). He’s written over ten books, the latest of which came out in February 2016—Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus.The post #39—The seven last words of Jesus, with James Martin, SJ [MIPodcast] appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

1hr 4mins

25 Feb 2016

Rank #1

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Briefly First Nephi, with Joseph M. Spencer [MIPodcast #98]

“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents...”So begins the first book in the Book of Mormon. First Nephi. And this is the first episode in a special series of interviews with authors of the Maxwell Institute’s forthcoming “Brief Theological Introductions to the Book of Mormon. Twelve different authors tackle twelve different parts of the book, and Joseph M. Spencer of Brigham Young University was given the task of approaching First Nephi.Learn more about the Brief Theological Introductions series at mi.byu.edu/brief.About the GuestJoseph M. Spencer is an assistant professor in the department of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University and editor of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. He’s written a number of books on the Book of Mormon such as An Other Testament: On Typology, For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope, and his latest book, First Nephi: A Brief Theological Introduction.The post Briefly First Nephi, with Joseph M. Spencer [MIPodcast #98] appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

52mins

19 Nov 2019

Rank #2

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Briefly Second Nephi, with Terryl Givens [MIPodcast #99]

This episode continues our special series of episodes on the Maxwell Institute’s brief theological introductions to the Book of Mormon. Terryl Givens is author of the volume on what many readers consider to be the most challenging part of the scripture—Second Nephi. The authors of our Brief Theological Introductions are “seeking Christ in scripture by combining intellectual rigor and the disciple’s yearning for holiness.”About the GuestTerryl L. Givens is a Neal A. Maxwell Senior Research Fellow. He formerly held the Jabez A. Bostwick Chair of English and was Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond. He is the author of many books about Latter-day Saint history and culture, including Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought, Feeding the Flock: The Foundations of Mormon Practice, and By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture That Launched a New World Religion, each with Oxford University Press. He is also co-author, with Fiona Givens, of The God Who Weeps, The Crucible of Doubt, and The Christ Who Heals.The post Briefly Second Nephi, with Terryl Givens [MIPodcast #99] appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

58mins

26 Nov 2019

Rank #3

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“To be learned is good,” with Richard Bushman [MIPodcast #75]

The Book of Mormon warns against mistaking intelligence for wisdom, but adds a crucial caveat: “to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God” (2 Nephi 9:29). Where LDS founding prophet Joseph Smith declared that a person is saved no faster than they get knowledge, historian Richard Bushman adds a corollary: A person gains knowledge no faster than they are saved. Bushman believes historical inquiry has made him a better Mormon, but he also believes being a Mormon has made him a better historian, too. In this episode,  Bushman gets autobiographical about his biography of Joseph Smith, talks about the rise of Mormon studies, and offers his perspective on the relationship between personal faith and professional scholarship. Bushman is one of the most distinguished and respected historians ever to call The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints his religious home. It was a real treat to sit down with him to talk about his career, his personal faith, his difficulties and successes. This episode coincides with the publication of To Be Learned Is Good: Essays on Faith and Scholarship in Honor of Richard Lyman Bushman. The book contains the edited proceedings of a 2016 scholars’ colloquium held in Bushman’s honor at Brigham Young University. Bushman wanted Latter-day Saint scholars to reflect on their work in the presence of non-LDS scholars, to think through the difficult issues in ways that spoke to larger questions about faith and reason. Learn more about the book or watch video of the presentations at mi.byu.edu/bushman. Learn more about the Summer Seminar on Mormon Culture here. About the Guest Richard Lyman Bushman is Gouverneur Morris Professor of History Emeritus at Columbia University and author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. He occupied the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California from 2008 to 2011. Before joining the faculty at Columbia University, Bushman received his BA and PhD degrees from Harvard University and taught at Brigham Young University, Brown University, Boston University, Harvard University (as a visiting professor), and the University of Delaware. Bushman has served as president of the Mormon History Association, as a member of the board of editors of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, as a council member for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, and as president of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. He chaired the advisory committee to the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History at Brigham Young University, 1999–2004; and he chaired the board of directors of the Mormon Scholars Foundation until 2016. He is currently a member of the National Advisory Board for the Joseph Smith Papers project of the History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having served as a general editor from the project’s founding until 2013.The post “To be learned is good,” with Richard Bushman [MIPodcast #75] appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

48mins

23 Jan 2018

Rank #4

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Feeding the Flock, with Terryl L. Givens [MIPodcast #74]

Latter-day Saint scholar Terryl L. Givens is back with us again. Dr. Givens spent the summer here at the Institute as a Neal A. Maxwell fellow. It was a real treat to have Terryl here in the building, and he sat down with MIPodcast host Blair Hodges to talk about the second and final book in his “Foundations of Mormon Thought” series from Oxford University Press. The book is called Feeding the Flock, focusing on Church and Praxis. The first volume covered LDS theology, while this volume zeroes in on LDS church sacraments and structure. About the Guest Terryl L. Givens holds the Jabez A. Bostwick Chair of English at the University of Richmond. He was a 2017 Neal A. Maxwell Fellow at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship where he co-directed the Summer Seminar on Mormon Culture. Terryl is one of the most prolific authors of books on Mormonism, including People of Paradox, By the Hand of Mormon, Wrestling the Angel, and Feeding the Flock: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Church and Praxis. Together with his wife Fiona he’s also written a number of books for LDS audiences including The God Who Weeps, The Crucible of Doubt, and their latest, The Christ Who Heals. He’s currently working on a biography of Mormon intellectual Eugene England. The post Feeding the Flock, with Terryl L. Givens [MIPodcast #74] appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

1hr 6mins

8 Dec 2017

Rank #5

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MIConversations #8—Terryl Givens with Thomas Wirthlin McConkie, “The spiritual journey”

Maxwell Institute Conversations are special episodes of the Maxwell Institute Podcast, hosted by Terryl Givens and created in collaboration with Faith Matters Foundation. Audio and video available.Thomas Wirthlin McConkie was born into a prominent American Latter-day Saint family, but the faith didn’t resonate with him as a teenager. He disconnected from the Church and began exploring the wider world’s faith traditions. He followed a thread through eastern religion and philosophy, then was surprised when that thread guided him all the way back to the faith of his youth. As a Latter-day Saint specialist in meditation and adult psychological development, Thomas Wirthlin McConkie appreciates how connecting with his past opens a new vision of the future.About the GuestThomas Wirthlin McConkie is author of Navigating Mormon Faith Crisis: A Simple Developmental Map and the founder of Lower Lights School of Wisdom. He has been practicing mindfulness and other meditative techniques for twenty years and studying their effects on human potential. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his partner Gloria and their dog Luna.The post MIConversations #8—Terryl Givens with Thomas Wirthlin McConkie, “The spiritual journey” appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

53mins

26 Mar 2019

Rank #6

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#38—N.T. Wright on Paul and His Recent Interpreters [MIPodcast]

When N.T. Wright was composing a massive 1600+ page treatment of Paul he wanted to begin with an overview of how scholars have interpreted the apostle over the years. It quickly became apparent that the topic could fill its own book, so Paul and His Recent Interpreters was born.In this episode Wright explains how various historical figures understood Paul throughout the centuries. Along the way we see how immediate concerns of interpreters shape the questions people ask of scripture and the answers they develop.Wright has been called the “C. S. Lewis” of our time, and while he’s a more accomplished scholar of the New Testament than Lewis ever was, the comparison mainly speaks to Wright’s skill at making technical things understandable to the rest of us.About N. T. WrightN. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England, now serving as Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews. He taught New Testament studies for 20 years at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford Universities. He’s written over seventy books, including a new translation of the New Testament and a massive series called Christian Origins and the Question of God. His most recent books include Paul and the Faithfulness of God, The Paul Debate, and Paul and His Recent Interpreters. He offers many New Testament courses online at ntwrightonline.org. For more on Wright and Paul, see the interviews here.The post #38—N.T. Wright on Paul and His Recent Interpreters [MIPodcast] appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

1hr 7mins

9 Feb 2016

Rank #7

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Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and “A House Full of Females” [MIPodcast #62]

In the late nineteenth century, a newspaper written and published by women and for women sprung up in what most Americans thought was the unlikeliest of locations: Utah, the home of the Mormons. Along the top of the newspaper the masthead proudly declared its concern: “The Rights of the Women of Zion, and the Rights of the Women of All Nations.” It was called the Women’s Exponent. This declaration—and the paper’s articles on suffrage and women’s rights—puzzled onlookers who thought about the religion mostly as a strange polygamous sect.“How could women simultaneously support a national campaign for political and economic rights while defending a marital practice that to most people seemed relentlessly patriarchal?” That’s the question addressed by historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in her latest book, A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835-1870 (see p. xiii).But Ulrich’s book is about more than polygamy and women’s rights. It’s a bold new social and cultural history of early Mormonism more broadly, as seen in the earliest and most personal writings of many overlooked figures of Mormon history.Pulitzer and Bancroft-prize winner Laurel Thatcher Ulrich joined host Blair Hodges to talk about A House Full of Females at Provo, Utah in March when she offered a lecture sponsored by the BYU Women’s Studies program, department of history, and Maxwell Institute. A video of that lecture will be available in the coming weeks.About the Guest Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, of Sugar City, Idaho, is a professor of history at Harvard University. She has served as president of the American Historical Association and the Mormon History Association. Her book A Midwife’s Tale received the Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize. Her latest book is A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835-1870.The post Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and “A House Full of Females” [MIPodcast #62] appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

1hr 3mins

25 Apr 2017

Rank #8

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The development of LDS liturgy and cosmology, with Jonathan Stapley [MIPodcast #78]

Latter-day Saint historians have long demonstrated that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not established all at once, but that it has unfolded—line upon line, precept upon precept, to borrow a biblical phrase. Ideas about priesthood in Mormonism, for example, have developed in fascinating ways. In a new book from Oxford University Press, called The Power of Godliness: Mormon Liturgy and Ritual, Jonathan Stapley writes about LDS priesthood and ritual—everything from baby blessing and baptism, to temple sealings, and everything else in between. About the Guest Jonathan Stapley is an award-winning historian and scientist. An active participant in the field of Mormon studies, he is also the Chief Technology Officer for a bio-renewables company. His new book is called The Power of Godliness: Mormon Liturgy and Ritual (Oxford University Press). The post The development of LDS liturgy and cosmology, with Jonathan Stapley [MIPodcast #78] appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

52mins

17 Apr 2018

Rank #9

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Mormon exorcism lore, with Stephen Taysom [MIPodcast #71]

This special episode is a tribute and homage to LORE, by Aaron Mahnke. If you haven’t already, you should check it out.In 1888 a Mormon woman in the Southern States mission of the LDS Church requested a visit from the missionaries. She said she was possessed by the devil and asked the elders to help her by the laying on of hands. They were happy to comply and the evil spirit was summarily dismissed. Then things took a turn for the worse.This, and other stories of Mormon exorcism are featured in this special edition of the Maxwell Institute Podcast. Learn more about the history of Satan as he was understood before, during, and after the life of Jesus, through Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation, to the days of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and beyond.About the GuestNo one has done more research on dispossession in Mormonism than religious studies scholar Stephen C. Taysom, associate professor in the department of philosophy and comparative religion at Cleveland State University. He is author of Shakers, Mormons, and Religious Worlds: Conflicting Visions, Contested Boundaries. He edited Dimensions of Faith: Mormon Studies Reader. His article on Mormonism and exorcism was recently published in the journal Religion and American Culture. It’s called “‘Satan mourns naked upon the earth’: Locating Mormon Possession and Exorcism Rituals in the American Religious Landscape, 1830-1977.”The post Mormon exorcism lore, with Stephen Taysom [MIPodcast #71] appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

1hr 7mins

27 Oct 2017

Rank #10

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MIConversations #10—Terryl Givens with Rosaynde Welch, “Life on the road to Emmaus”

Maxwell Institute Conversations are special episodes of the Maxwell Institute Podcast, hosted by Terryl Givens and created in collaboration with Faith Matters Foundation. Audio and video available.Is faith a choice? Does faith come naturally to some more than others? Terryl Givens and Rosalynde Welch have written and spoken on these questions, and each of them bring interesting perspectives to the discussion.About the GuestROSALYNDE FRANDSEN WELCH is an independent scholar in St. Louis, Missouri and a member of the Maxwell Institute’s advisory board. She is working on a book about Ether for the Institute’s Brief Theological Introductions series on the Book of Mormon.The post MIConversations #10—Terryl Givens with Rosaynde Welch, “Life on the road to Emmaus” appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

52mins

15 Oct 2019

Rank #11