Shon Hopkin – The Start of Opening Isaiah: A Harmony with Ann Madsen

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Opening Isaiah: A Harmony written by Shon Hopkin and Ann Madsen to help make Isaiah easier to study.

Ken Krogue:  Now, when we were introduced to you, we got to meet you and Ann Madsen.

Shon Hopkin: Yeah.

Ken Krogue: Tell us about that connection.

Shon Hopkin: So, Ann is a wonderful friend, a very close friend, and has been working with Isaiah for many years and teaching at least a few classes each year, here on Isaiah.  So, when I got here, I was asked to teach Isaiah pretty quickly, and the one thing I had wanted as a resource that just wasn’t available, when I was teaching Institute, was something that put Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s translation side by side.

Ken Krogue: Ah, yes.

Shon Hopkin: So that the students had access to that, so they could see easily, because constantly we were saying, well here is what it says in Isaiah, now in the Book of Mormon, let’s flip to that and see and trying to compare in contrast was tricky.  So, turns out she had worked on the early stages of the harmony, with her students, and somebody introduced me to that.  It was in very early stages, but it was there and so we met in connection with that.

Ken Krogue: Ok.

Shon Hopkin: And decided we would work on this project together and then of course that was…

Ken Krogue: I’ve heard it’s amazing.

Shon Hopkin: Well, I love it, right.

Ken Krogue: Our blogger that we hired the day he retired from the boy scout blog which has four hundred thousand subscribers, he’s like a rock star in blogging.

Shon Hopkin: Yeah.

Ken Krogue: He fell in love with it.

Shon Hopkin: One of the humblest rock stars I know.

Ken Krogue: Yeah, he is amazing, but so you got something there.  It’s pretty powerful.

Shon Hopkin: So, I use it in my classes, and Ann uses it in her classes, and it’s been a great tool for us to teach Isaiah with.  And the thing we like most about it, is it puts those texts, the texts are front and center, the scriptures are front and center, not what we are saying about the scriptures, and this is not your typical scripture commentary, and it might even be maybe a little frustrating for someone who wants to go to a book and just get all the answers.  That’s not what we’re doing.

Ken Krogue: But it gets you into Isaiah.

Shon Hopkin: Absolutely, and then our guidance is in flip notes and maps throughout, and so what we’ve tried to do is just very short, concise footnotes so that when there’s a sticking point, and anything that’s confusing, we just sort of give some guidance, some historical context, some historical insights as they’re working their way through Isaiah and then they can just see all the texts there.  One of the best parts of this, we’ve got a Dead Sea scrolls column as well, so that’s what took forever.  We did all the translation for that of the variants there, and then…

Ken Krogue: So, what are the different columns?

Shon Hopkin: So, you’ve got the King James Version, Joseph Smith translation, Book of Mormon, Dead Sea scrolls, then the one that’s really important, is actually a modern translation.

Ken Krogue: Wonderful.

Shon Hopkin: We use the NRSV, and then we’ve got a lot of flip notes from the NIV, so the New Revised Standard Version is probably one of the most widely accepted in academic circles, and the NIV, the New International Version is…

Ken Krogue: That’s just the big dog…

Shon Hopkin: That is the big dog yes, and it’s a wonderful translation.  It’s got some protestant leanings in its translations which is fine, and it’s beautiful.

Ken Krogue: Brother Millet will love that.

Shon Hopkin: Yes, I guess so.  That actually turns out to be very helpful because we think, oh Isaiah is so hard to understand.

Ken Krogue: [cross talking 00:03:11.23]

Shon Hopkin: The harmony?

Ken Krogue: Yeah, what’s it called?

Shon Hopkin: It’s called, Opening Isaiah, and it’s available on the religious studies centers website, as an electronic download right now, so it would be rsc.byu.edu/opening-Isaiah.

Ken Krogue: Ok.

Shon Hopkin: Or you can just go to rsc.byu.edu and search for it there.

Ken Krogue: Ok, great.

Shon Hopkin: And it can be purchased…the hard copy will be out in about five weeks.

Ken Krogue: Wonderful.

Shon Hopkin:  It’s been sent off to the publisher, and we’re excited for it.  It was envisioned primarily as a tool for students, but we’d love anybody else to take advantage of it, if they might be interested…so.

Ken Krogue: Ok.

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I’m a connoisseur of the esoteric, whether in scripture or desserts. Isaiah’s air of mystery reaches through the ages to draw me in and compels me to uncover his ancient mysteries. While design is my calling, occasionally I lend my words to Searchisaiah.org.

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