WikiProject Christianity

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best practices for characters/books in holy writ? edit

Hello Wikiproject Christianity, I'm starting a project with some students here at the Brigham Young University library to improve pages related to the Book of Mormon, in anticipation of next year's Sunday school curriculum in our church that will focus on it. I've been trying to develop best practices for sourcing and writing pages about characters in the Book of Mormon and books of the Book of Mormon. At first I thought that I should completely avoid apologetic sources, or sources that argue for the historicity of the Book of Mormon, in order to maintain NPOV. However, I'm interested in what editors outside of Mormon studies think of those rules of thumb (maybe an apologetic source, if clearly cited in-text, would be appropriate sometimes?).

I'm also not sure of the best way to present a character in holy writ in a way that makes it clear that this person is a character in a book (but considered a historical figure by most adherents). I recently edited the page for Aminadab, a very minor character in the Book of Mormon. Does anyone with experience writing pages for characters/people in the Bible have advice on that?

Lastly, I am looking for good examples of Biblical, encyclopedic writing for my students to emulate. I noticed that the quality of pages about books in the Bible can be a bit uneven. Are there pages you often refer back to as a good example to emulate? Much thanks, Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 16:09, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In my opinion, using sources that expressly support the view that the Book of Mormon is a historically accurate account is acceptable—Wikipedia relies on similar sources for its coverage of Catholicism, Hinduism, and many other major world religions. However, in-text attribution may be necessary for certain claims and to distinguish between different interpretations (both academic-secular and academic-believer) of the same passages from the Book of Mormon.
As for characters from scriptures/traditions, Wikipedia generally presents the religiously accepted account of their life and person as discussed in reliable sourcing while also providing the academic appraisal of said persons. I've been involved in trying to improve Massacre of the Innocents, a biblical event of disputed veracity; there, I've tried to ensure that the traditional majority scholarly opinion of "it probably didn't happen" is mitigated by modern reexamination without giving undue weight to any revisionist or pious views that may lack general scholarly acceptance. ~ Pbritti (talk) 16:59, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I echo Pbritti's view that using sources that expressly support the view that the Book of Mormon is a historically accurate account is acceptable since Wikipedia does similarly for coverage of other faith traditions. I have cited sources like that for Book of Mormon studies pages that I've contributed. Though I don't state the non-consensus claims of historicity in Wikipedia's voice, there's other secondary source material in such sources that does function without issue within the broad consensus that the Book of Mormon is a book containing narrative content including events, situations, and named figures. Such unproblematic secondary source content includes, for example, descriptions of the narrative content of the book itself, assessments of literary function and meaning, and documentation of cultural reception, etc. P-Makoto (she/her) (talk) 21:15, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for your advice, and the example of Massacre of the Innocents! I will pass it on to my students and we will try to clarify in-text who is doing the commentary in our commentary sections and whenever else it seems important.Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 16:01, 7 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hello again, Pbritti (and/or P-Makoto), would you be willing to look at the work of one of my students in Amalickiah? He really wanted to include apologetic sources, which I told him he could do if he introduced them as such. Is this kind of summary of apologetic arguments appropriate for Wikipedia? Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk)
@Rachel Helps (BYU): I hope I didn't step on yours or BenBeckstromBYU's toes by making a couple tweaks to the article. Generally, I think this is a very good approach taken with a good deal of caution towards the apologetic character of these sources. I very much am not an expert on the Book of Mormon nor the theology surround its interpretation, but I would consider this a thorough account of LDS views on this subject. Obviously, if possible, additional non-LDS academic views should be added, but I don't know if any actually exist for this particular subject. ~ Pbritti (talk) 21:23, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for the feedback! That was the major issue that I was running into. Also, your tweaks were very helpful, particularly your work on the intro. I'll keep this in mind going forward. BenBeckstromBYU (talk) 21:31, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Pbritti I forgot to tag you in the above. Pleasure collaborating!BenBeckstromBYU (talk) 21:32, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@BenBeckstromBYU: oh don't worry—I see every edit to this page anyway. Next week, I should have time to go more thoroughly through things and maybe make a couple more specific suggestions. For now, though, I'd consider your work a credit to the project! ~ Pbritti (talk) 21:59, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, @BenBeckstromBYU. Sorry about the relative tardiness of my comments. Your expansion of the Amalickiah page is overall great to see. I have a few thoughts, which I'll preface by acknowledging that I tend to have a very reserved take on secondary sources which is more exacting than that of some editors.
- If memory serves that "artist's interpretation of Amalackiah" was already on the page, so that's not on you, but I am uncomfortable with that and similar examples from the same artist. These 3D models seem to have been created by a Wikipedian, rather than have been found "naturally" created by adherents of the Latter Day Saint movement. Although the illustrative goal is understandable, I worry it veers too far into interpretation. The interpretation is an interpretation, involving supposition about what aesthetics appropriately illustrate the themes Amalickiah's narrative invokes or what clothes his hypothetical context appropriately includes, and that seems to me to drift beyond the mission of Wikipedia to summarize content already existing.
- You use chapter headings as sources in the summary portion. While I see how those headings are in a sense a commentary on the text of the Book of Mormon itself, that content believed to be "sacred text" by the Latter Day Saint movement, since the content is produced and published directly by a denomination (without the additional distance that universities and publishing houses create), it still strikes me as being like a primary source. As the template message often used in these cases describe, the chapter headings are also "texts from within a religion or faith system" rather than secondary sources that critically analyze them. I would consider the ideal scenario to be citing this content using secondary sources that describe the narrative, such as in commentaries or summaries like The Book of Mormon for the Least of These, Second Witness, or A Pentecostal Reads the Book of Mormon. I acknowledge that maybe I'm asking for something that's not there, though, since I don't have any of those particular books on hand. It's also the case that pages describing works of literature or content therefrom sometimes consider it tolerable to depend on the primary source itself for pure summary, so this isn't a do-or-die problem; I just think it would elevate the page and make it more defensible and less prone to clipping by overzealous editors in the future.
- You write that "There appears to be a consensus among Latter-day Saint apologists that the timing of Amalickiah's assassination was religiously significant". Is there a source which says there is such a consensus, or is that an observation you yourself make? The latter veers toward original research, as it's your interpretation of the existing literature, rather than a straightforward citation of it. Additionally, this paragraph does a lot of describing how Merrill and Sorensen think the timing was religiously significant, but it's not clear to a reader why that is. I think the paragraph would read better if instead of trying to make an interpretation of the literature, you cite what it says. If it doesn't violate existing academic consensus, then I think it can be validly stated on the page. It seems like what's being hinted at is that Sorensen and Merrill observe that warfare usually happens within a certain range of months on the implied Nephite calendar year, and that Amalickiah's assassination takes place during a certain time in that. If you cite it as an observation about the Book of Mormon's content, that sounds literarily valid and interesting and worth having on the page.
- "Leadership studies" continues this, where you describe that authors have said things about Amalickiah but it's not always clear what it is that they're saying.
- Likewise in the literary role. You use verbage where you describe that Joseph Spencer "found that the structure of the Book of Alma sets Amalickiah up as a narrative mirror to Ammon", but it would be more straightforward to state, for example, "According to Joseph Spencer, the structure of the Book of Alma sets Amalickiah up as a narrative mirror to Ammon". Does that difference make sense? Instead of saying that people write things, cite what they wrote and acknowledge it's according to this or that author.
- The observation that the "-iah" suffix appears throughout the Book of Mormon and Bible seems wholly valid. I am rather sketchy on the citation to Hugh Nibley saying that "Amaleki" means "my king." In what language?
I hope these do not seem excessively needling. You've done a lot of the hard work already in finding sources that thoughtfully and seriously examine this Book of Mormon figure. Consider my comments not condemnations, but rather suggestions for refinement and improvement. P-Makoto (she/her) (talk) 01:01, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Heidegger's influence on Christian theology edit

Hello all!

I am working on the Martin Heidegger article with tentative intentions to bring it to GA status. One shortcoming of the article in its current state is the absence of discussion of his influence on Christian theology. He was an important influence on Paul Tillich, I know, and I am sure on others besides. (Heidegger was raised Catholic, and this upbringing, along with his study of scholastic philosophy/theology, had a life-long influence on his thought.)

I'd be most grateful if anyone from this WikiProject could swing by to create even just a stub section under Martin_Heidegger#Reception with appropriate sourcing. Suggestions on the talk page would also most welcome. I've got an anthologized article by John D. Caputo that I hope will provide some helpful content, but, on the whole, this part of Heidegger's influence is out of my wheelhouse.

Cheers, Patrick J. Welsh (talk) 17:13, 11 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Requested move at Talk:Limpa#Requested move 13 September 2023 edit


There is a requested move discussion at Talk:Limpa#Requested move 13 September 2023 that may be of interest to members of this WikiProject. Lightoil (talk) 14:28, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Roderick L. Evans edit

Would someone from this WikiProject please take a look at Roderick L. Evans and assess it per WP:BIO? It seems to have been pretty much unsourced since its creation and the few general sources cited don't really establish Evan's Wikipedia notability. it also looks like the article has been heavily edited over the years (most recently a few days ago) by an WP:SPA who might be somehow connected to Evans. -- Marchjuly (talk) 05:37, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Requested move at Talk:Renewal theologian#Requested move 25 September 2023 edit


There is a requested move discussion at Talk:Renewal theologian#Requested move 25 September 2023 that may be of interest to members of this WikiProject. ASUKITE 19:48, 4 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nondenominational Christianity edit

I've raised what I believe are some significant issues about our article Nondenominational Christianity; my remarks are on the talk page. I made these remarks over three weeks ago, but no one has followed up.

I'd really rather the article be edited by someone more expert than myself, so I am leaving this note here and will lay off for a week. After that, if nothing happens, I'm likely to just begin by hacking out unsourced, poorly sourced, or unclearly worded content from the article. I think a much better solution would be for someone knowledgeable to engage the issues I've raised. - Jmabel | Talk 21:43, 13 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Byzantine Empire Featured article review edit

I have nominated Byzantine Empire for a featured article review here. Please join the discussion on whether this article meets the featured article criteria. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. If substantial concerns are not addressed during the review period, the article will be moved to the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Delist" in regards to the article's featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 22:05, 30 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Erin Swenson edit

Hello all - I have created a new article on Erin Swenson, a trans woman Presbyterian Minister from the United States. If anyone has any more information or improvements to the article, please let me know. Thank you. GnocchiFan (talk) 23:25, 10 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@GnocchiFan: Looks like a complete article with a variety of independent, reliable sources. ~ Pbritti (talk) 01:47, 11 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for the compliment, I appreciate it. I know some issues were raised over the LGBTQ Religious Archives source, but I don't think it's supporting anything particularly controversial (biographical info and the like) and seems to be used by others as a reference, so I think it's appropriate to use in this case. GnocchiFan (talk) 11:01, 12 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Draft:Godhead edit

We have had a draft on the concept of the Godhead stewing for about seven years now. It's time to finish it. BD2412 T 13:40, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Draft:Godhead? –Zfish118talk 18:39, 25 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good article reassessment for Southern Adventist University edit

Southern Adventist University has been nominated for a good article reassessment. If you are interested in the discussion, please participate by adding your comments to the reassessment page. If concerns are not addressed during the review period, the good article status may be removed from the article. ~~ AirshipJungleman29 (talk) 22:06, 6 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]