In February 2018, I had the privilege to interview Dawn Meehan for “10 questions.” She is a mother of six, a former professor of English at BYU, and of course – a contestant on two seasons of Survivor.
*Updated: Feb. 2, 2018
In January 2018, I had the privilege to interview John Gee, author of “An Introduction to the Book of Abraham.”
Gee is perhaps today’s most well-known Mormon Egyptologist and has been gracious enough to sit down for an interview to share his thoughts and experiences about the intersections of faith and scholarship.
In January 2018, I had the privilege to interview Dr. Gabriele Boccaccini, director of the Enoch Seminar.
Even in the midst of a personal tragedy, Boccaccini was kind enough to give thoughtful consideration to a number of questions about his work and motives.
After receiving interview responses from R. Eric Smith and Matthew J. Grow for an upcoming “10 questions,” it occurred to me I may have forgotten an important question.
Experts are often asked the same questions over and over. Yet are there questions they wish someone would ask?
As it relates to the Council of Fifty minutes, I asked R. Eric Smith this very question in an addendum to the “10 questions” interview.
Shorto is noted for his work in narrative history. He is the author of six books, a contributor to the New Yorker, and is currently contemplating a historical work – about the present.
In December 2017 / January 2018, I had the privilege to interview S. Kent Brown, an emeritus professor of ancient studies at BYU.
My contact with Brown stemmed from an interview with Philip Jenkins wherein he mentioned scholars at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship who were studying the same time period as he covered in his book, Crucible of Faith. After contacting the Maxwell Institute I was eventually put in touch with Brown, who has done some work on the period of 250 BCE to 50 CE, including the publication of The Lost 500 Years: What Happened Between the Old and New Testaments.
In December 2017, I was privileged to interview Philip Jenkins in association with the publication of his latest book, Crucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution That Made Our Modern Religious World.
My brief interactions with Jenkins were impressive. He came across as professional, prompt, and witty – a rare trifecta of interview subject attributes.
10 questions is an interview series that will feature a wide variety of authors. Each interview will consist of 10 questions and seek to address how an author thinks, cover the material about which they write, and introduce readers to a bit of the author’s personality. Ideally, at least one new interview will be posted every month.
I have pondered an interview series like 10 questions for a long time. However, I always pulled back instead of pulling the trigger out of a sense of intimidation. I do not know the material as well as the authors. While I understand the language of academia, my own graduate experience has filled me with an understanding (or at least strong belief) there is always something more to be learned. Accordingly, how could I present a series if I could not hold my own with various experts?
Recently, I have discovered the answer: I do not need to hold my own. I do not need to be an expert in religious studies to interview a religious studies scholar. I do not need to be a published fantasy author to interview a global leader in the genre. I do not need to know what academic publications have come out in the last (fill in the blank) days.
What I need instead is a sincere interest in whatever I decide to review. Instead of feeling intimidated when venturing outside my own expertise, I feel excited to devour and share new content. When I feel I can describe the book to a child, a layman, and a college professor alike, then I feel like my understanding is sufficient for my purposes.
And what are my purposes? I want to share material that is often difficult for a layman to grasp. I want to take complicated concepts and present them in a way that anyone can read them without demeaning the experts involved. If done properly, I believe interview participants will be delighted to share their expertise with a wider audience than they may normally encounter.