Author: Eric Huntsman

Completed my BA in Classical Greek and Latin at BYU in 1990. Received my MA and PhD in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and 1997 respectively. Began teaching full-time at BYU in 1994, where I was an assistant professor of Classics, specializing in Greek and Roman history and historical authors. Moved to Ancient Scripture in 2003, where I am now an associate professor and affiliate faculty with Classics and Ancient Near Eastern Studies. My primary research and writing focuses are Johannine Writings with a little Pauline and Lucan thrown in, but my real interest, pure and simply, is Jesus! I married Elaine Scott in 1993, and we have two children, Rachel and Samuel. Have held the normal kind of church callings, culminating in a six-plus year stint as bishop, but I now have the two best callings in the church (in my opinion): serving as an ordinance worker in the Provo Temple and singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Easter Sunday

Because Easter is not a biblical term (and has pagan origins), some suggest that “Resurrection Sunday” would be a better term. The word itself only appears once in the King James Bible at Acts 12:4, where is is better translated as “Passover.” So significant was the event of that Sunday morning that Christians since have celebrated it as “the Lord’s Day,” and it has become our weekly sabbath, replacing the Saturday of the Old Testament. Still, for millennia the term “Easter” has come to be synonymous with resurrection, hope, and the joyful refrain “He is risen!”

Saturday before Easter

D&C 138; 3 Nephi 9 and 10 Christian tradition relates the so-called “Harrowing of Hell,” wherein Jesus broke the bonds of Adam and Eve and brought them and other Old Testament saints from hell into heaven.  Although LDS doctrinal statements…

Good Friday

The day traditional associated with the crucifixion of Jesus, the Friday before Easter, is called “Good Friday” in English either because it is a “holy” Friday, or, more likely, because in English “good” is often an archaic expression for “God.” …

Maundy Thursday

“Maundy” is an early English form of the Latin mandatum for “commandment” and recalling “A new commandment I give you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye love one another” in John 13:34. The events of Thursday night, beginning with the Last Supper and extending through our Lord’s suffering in Gethsemane, his betrayal, his arrest, and his first hearing before the Jewish authorities, reveal his great love for us.

Spy Wednesday

In some traditions the Wednesday before Easter is called “Spy Wednesday” because this may have been when Judas agreed with the chief priests to betray the Savior. This act of betrayal is highlighted by its collocation with an act of love, the anointing by the unnamed woman in Bethany.

Tuesday before Easter

After drawing lessons from the withered tree, Jesus spent the morning in the temple. The second block of these teachings in Matthew, which also cover most of the material preserved in Mark and Luke, focus on attempts by the Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees to trap Jesus in his words (22:15–40).

Monday before Easter

While readers are more familiar with Jesus healing and blessing rather than “cursing,” the story of the Fig Tree is important for our day. Just as the Jews of Jesus’ time were held accountable for brining forth fruit, so, too, are our lives expected to reflect that of Jesus.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is a good opportunity to recall one of the rare moments in Jesus’ ministry when he was recognized for the king he was. But depending upon the timing of Passover and the day that Jesus was crucified, this Sunday could also have been “fifth day before Passover” when the Paschal Lamb was selected for Passover and set apart for the Lord, giving special significance to crowd’s recognition of Jesus on this day—they may have been welcoming him as a hoped-for king, but in reality he had come as the Lamb of God who would die for them.

For the Saturday before Holy Week: The Symbolism of Jesus as Anointed King and Priest

As a prologue to our journey through the Savior’s final week, considering another, implicit level of symbolism inherent in the accounts of Jesus’ anointing provides depth to Jesus’ role as “the Christ.” John’s placement of the anointing before the Triumphal Entry can be seen as portraying Jesus as the rightful king who enters Jerusalem with authority. The location of the anointing in Mark and Matthew on Wednesday of Holy Week signals a shift in emphasis as Jesus begins to function as the anointed priest who makes the ultimate sacrifice for his people.

Holy Week Preliminaries: Chronology

For most traditional Christians, the basic chronology of Jesus’ last week is fairly clear: he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; taught and prophesied for two or more days; held the Last Supper and was arrested on Thursday evening; died on…

Preparing for Easter through Holy Week

In the bustle of day-to-day life, it is useful to employ holidays to refocus our attention and our thoughts and, most of all, celebrate together and with friends of other faiths the events we all value. For some years now, my family and I have benefited spiritually by using the gospel accounts of the Savior’s last week as the focus of our family and personal scripture study. It is a great way to truly celebrate Easter!

Lucan Infancy Narrative

[Once again, these are just notes, and they do not even begin to do the subject justice, but yesterday’s Matthew notes were able to spark some good discussion. I will response and comment as I can today, but, hey, it…

The Matthean Infancy Narrative

[Christmas realities have hit, making me admit that full length blogs the last two days of Christmas week are just not feasible! So forgive me as I just post here some “notes” on Matt and later Luke, consisting of largely…

Christmas with Autism

In April of 2008, our son Samuel was diagnosed with autism . . . But in this Christmas week, I wanted to share some specific experiences that we have had with our special needs child, first the challenges that the holiday posed and then the wonderful blessings that we have experienced together as a family. . . . As we celebrate the birth of our Lord together, the spirit is not only filling my home, it is reaching my precious son in ways that I pray will make an indelible mark on his memory and soul.

An LDS Observance of Advent

A recent spoof on Conan O’Brien that has made the rounds on the Internet highlights how little many outside the Church know about LDS practices. The hilarious skit, ostensibly in honor of a “Mormon Christmas,” points out that we really…

Truant Blogger Here at Last

First, apologies for keeping you all waiting. The Choir’s Christmas concerts were last week, which was also the last week of BYU’s fall semester. This week I am in the midst of finals. And in the few moments I squeeze…