In this 5-part series, Brian Johnston (StayLDS.com) interviews Jared Anderson. Jared is finishing his Ph.D. in Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focusing on the Gospels and New Testament. Jared received an Honors Bachelor of Arts from the University of Utah, where he majored in Middle Eastern Studies with an emphasis in Hebrew, as well as learning Greek and Latin under Margaret Toscano. His honors thesis explored Joseph Smith’s study and use of languages.After graduating Magna cum Laude at the U of U, Jared completed his Master’s degree at UNC Chapel Hill with a thesis on the text of the Fourth Gospel in the writings of the third-century Church Father Origen of Alexandria. His dissertation will reconstruct and analyze the form of the Gospel of Mark used by the author of Matthew. Jared plans to continue to write academic and popular books about the formation, transmission, and translation of the Bible, spreading awareness of how this fascinating and influential anthology came to be.Jared currently teaches World Religions at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. He is very interested in promoting an open, progressive, and vibrant approach to religion in general and Mormonism in particular, and has presented papers on these topics. He contributes on several groups and blogs, including the Mormon Stories and MO2.0 Facebook groups. He welcomes friends and communication in those forums.
Jared and his wife Katrina live in Salt Lake City with their five children: Olivia (11), Isaac (9), Grace (7), Asher (2) and Miriam (8 months). Jared is an active member and currently serves in the ward Sunday School Presidency.
This interview is broken into five parts:
- Part 1: Introduction. Jared discusses the meaning of New Testament scholarship and an academic viewpoint of scripture, how we know what we know including what happened in the past, and the difference between academic and faith perspectives. Jared begins an overview of the New Testament books from a scholarly perspective in chronological order — 1 Thessalonians through Galatians.
- Part 2: Scholarly overview of the New Testament – Philemon through the Gospel of Mark
- Part 3: Scholarly overview of the New Testament – Gospel of Matthew through Titus
- Part 4: Scholarly overview of the New Testament books – Gospel of John through 2 Peter. Jared also discusses who Jesus was as a historical figure, the evidence for his existence, and how we can determine what he likely said and did. Jared also gives an overview of the formation, transmission and translation of the Bible we read today.
- Part 5: Discussion of Jared’s personal journey, relationship to Mormonism and academia, and he explains how he integrates his academic views with his faith.