Ask the Scholar: Adam S. Miller edition

05.08.2013 | Blair Hodges

I’m trying out a more collaborative feature here at the MIBlog. Readers can submit questions about the works and perspectives of various scholars. Adam Miller, a professor of philosophy at Collin College in McKinney, Texas, has agreed to be the guinea pig. This post includes a bit of info about Miller’s background and provides links to some of his scholarship. I also point to other conversations about Miller’s work that have taken place over the last year, in case you haven’t already had the chance to become familiar with it.

Questions about any aspect of Miller’s work can be tweeted to @MI_BYU (#askmiller), or sent in a message to the Institute’s Facebook page. Questions must be submitted on or before May 15 (next Wednesday). The best questions will be featured in the Q&A on Monday, May 20.

About Adam Miller:

Miller received his MA and PhD in Philosophy from Villanova University. He’s a cofounder of Salt Press, a publisher of books on Mormon scripture, which was recently brought into the Maxwell Institute. In addition to bringing in outside manuscripts to the Institute, he and Joseph Spencer are working on a series for us called “Groundwork: Studies in Theory and Scripture.” He directs the Mormon Theology Seminar, a collaborative exploration of LDS scripture which has generated several wonderful essay collections like this one, in which his own essay on Alma 32 appears. Last month, Fordham University Press published his book Speculative Grace: Bruno Latour and Object-Oriented Theology, which Miller says is deeply informed by Mormon theology. Although it doesn’t explicitly refer to Mormonism, the text is sprinkled here and there with allusions to LDS scriptures and perspectives. Early drafts of various chapters can be found here.

His new book is a philosophically rich text, a difficult text, but perhaps reading it alongside Miller’s earlier book, Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology, will grease the gears. Like Speculative Grace, it’s a difficult text. I attempted to review it here, but it’s been praised on several Mormon blogs since its publication in 2011 (see the little appendix below). It was the focus of a panel at the most recent Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology conference. SquareTwo put together a great panel on the work in their Spring 2013 issue. Miller discussed the book on the Mormon Book Review podcast and more recently appeared on A Thoughtful Faith. His own blog posts at Times & Seasons provide a nice entry into Miller’s style and approach. He’s also contributed to Mormon Scholars Testify. Upcoming projects include the books Letters to a Young Mormon and The Gospel According to David Foster Wallace.

Questions might best revolve around things like Miller’s methodology, specific claims Miller makes about things like grace and theology, his experiences writing and publishing, etc.

Blog Reviews of Rube Goldberg:

—Andrew Spriggs, “I don’t understand it, but I like it,” IrresistibleGrace, December 12, 2011.
Clark Goble, “Review: Rube Goldberg Machines – Essays in Mormon Theology,” Mormon Metaphysics, April 3, 2012.
Sam Brown, “An Event in the Family,” By Common Consent, April 14, 2012.
Harlow Clark, “Review,” Association for Mormon Letters Discussion Board, June 12, 2012.
Brad Kramer, “On Poetry and the Joys of Language,” By Common Consent, June 15, 2012.
Clark Goble, “Critiquing Rube Goldberg Machines,” Mormon Metaphysics, September 10, 2012.
Jacob Baker, “Consider the Theologian: A Periphrastic Response to Adam Miller’s ‘Rube Goldberg Machines,’” Mormon Philosophy and Theology, September 24, 2012.
Seth Payne, “A Book Review of ‘Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology’,Worlds Without End, January 2, 2013.
Robert F. Smith, “Adam Miller’s New Hermeneutic?“, n.p., January 3, 2013.
Dave Banack, “What Mormon Theology Looks Like,” Times & Seasons, January 15, 2013.
Blair Hodges, “‘On the edge of beatitude’: Another review of Adam Miller’s ‘Rube Goldberg Machines’,” By Common Consent, April 24, 2013.