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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Great Are the Words of Isaiah

I've been considering how to approach chapter 21 and other Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon. They are so rich with meaning, doctrine, and history that it would be impossible to cover them in any great length in blog posts. There would simply be too many verses to comment on to hold anyone's attention for very long.

I don't believe in coincidence. "Everything happens for a reason", to quote John Locke on my currently favorite TV show "Lost". A couple of days ago I "happened upon" a site called Diigo.com. It is a social bookmarking tool that goes a step further than just showing the world your bookmarks. It lets anyone who installs it view highlights and notes that other Diigo have left behind on a particular web site. It's perfect for digging deep into the scriptures on the blog without copying and pasting great numbers of verses to show the context of the discussion. I had seen others like it, but this one seemed really good for highlighting and annotation of http://scriptures.lds.org.

As an experiment, I've "Diigo"d (is there a Web verb for this yet?) the first chapter in Isaiah by borrowing from the notes of famed and faithful LDS religious texts scholar Hugh W. Nibley. The notes are the transcript of a speech he gave at BYU's sixth annual Sperry symposium in 1978.

This is for Isaiah 1, which is not quoted in the Book of Mormon, but is nevertheless an important summary of the tone and topics of the book of Isaiah and helps prepare us for the parts quoted in the Book of Mormon. Since Nibley, given his extensive Middle Eastern languages background, knew more about ancient scripture than I could ever hope to know, his notes seemed like a good place to start.

So, download Diigo and then read Hugh Nibley's commentary on Isaiah 1 in-line with the actual verses at http://scriptures.lds.org/en/isa/1. You can join the "American Testament" group on Diigo and contribute your own public sticky notes or get sticky notes updates via email.