We’re Baaaack

[Guest post from the moderator]

For those of you who had thought Hugh Nibley [off the record] had faded softly into that good night, no.

School started again, but the main distraction that kept us from posting for the last few weeks was a child, one who will almost certainly be the final grandchild of Hugh Nibley, who tried to make an early entrance onto the stage of life. We have persuaded her, for the time being, that the intermediate world of the womb is preferable for the moment to this vale of tears, and she should remain as close to Grandpa Hugh for as long as possible. But the effort was a distraction from producing this blog.

We apologize for that.

But rest assured, HN is not going away.

We in the Nibley family have heard all our lives the same comment about Hugh Nibley. It goes something like this: “Hugh Nibley? Oh, my father/uncle/cousin/sister [fill in appropriate relation] reads everything he writes, but it’s way over my head.”

We are planning to address that perception. Not by dumbing HN down, but by using digital media to make him more available and more accessible. And doing it all in a way that appreciates that he was, above all, fun.

We have some ideas about how to use digital media to create a broader, younger and more diverse audience for HN’s works, but we want to hear your ideas too. As part of this effort, we hope to form a stronger bond and communicate more with you, the people who have an interest in the life and teachings of Hugh Nibley. We want to hear from you. We want to know what inspired you about HN, and we also want to know what annoyed the hell out of you about him (and if you think there was nothing annoying about him, well then I’m absolutely sure he wasn’t your dad.)

Above all, we want you to know that we appreciate and value the attention you give to HN’s work even now, several years after his death. The response to the postings and tweets we’ve done has been amazing and gratifying. In the immortal words of Humphrey Bogart, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Stay tuned for further announcements.


About Hugh Nibley

Hugh Nibley, 1910-2005, was simultaneously the LDS Church's greatest intellectual defender from attack from the outside and Mormon culture's strongest critic from the inside. This blog is composed mainly from Nibley's unpublished writings, letters, interviews and conversations, with occasional posts from associates who had personal interactions with him.
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6 Responses to We’re Baaaack

  1. Dal Wiscombe says:

    Hugh Nibley was on occasions a dangerous man to be connected with. He could draw a picture of the world we live in and I would have to double check that world with the one that was given by the leaders of the Church we belonged to. Although not a student of his at the University, I had the privilege of hearing some lectures by him there. I thoroughly enjoyed them and couldn’t put a lot of that out of my head. It’s that notion and reality of dealing with a teacher that actually really knows what it is they are talking about. It’s always better to deal with a person who has that passion for the essential and important things of life. You can sometimes read into people and look right past what it is they are talking about, but Hugh Nibley was not that case. He could write on what was really important like his articles on the Atonement. Then he could be found talking about his grandfather jumping out of a window if an angel showed up – attributing the love of money and the wealth of people suspicious and possibly at a prideful level – if not kept in check, can destroy a person. I had him sign his old priesthood manual that was published by the Church and still cherish his comment. While others were bringing up the newly purchased hard back editions of the new library started by FARMS – all I had at the time was the orange priesthood manual purchased at the Deseret Industries. I have since collected nearly all his works and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I feel bad about the rift there was in the family with his daughter. I am grateful for his passion in teaching and have sought to emulate in just a small way – great passion for history as I teach it to my school students. He and another professor of Meso-american studies have really inspired me. Nibley’s Egyptian work is unsurpassed. I appreciate some of his disdain for unruly academics and the constant need to keep ourselves in line with the brethren and the scriptures. Thanks for the flash back and the opportunity to post a good memory.

  2. Laurel Lee Pedersen says:

    I have adored Hugh Nibley in print and video since I was a student at BYU. I especially loved his five volume series of the Book of Mormon classes he taught to Honors students at the Y. I was shocked when I shared them with several friends who I thought would like them, and they gave them back, saying they were over their head, and couldn’t get into them. I have loved what I have learned about the temple through all his writings (have read most of his collected writings.) My testimony has been deepened and strengthened because of him. Brilliant people are often difficult to live with. I appreciate his family for putting up with his “eccentricities”, so that others could be blessed by his work. I loved him even more when I found out he was a democrat! Thanks so much for continuing your work. I really appreciate it and enjoy it!

  3. dangermom says:

    I do love to read Nibley works, but still, a certain percentage of it is over my head! Your plans sound intriguing and I look forward to seeing what you do. Also, hope the baby does well!

    My mental picture of Hugh Nibley always includes what might be an odd comparison. To me, he seems a lot like Richard Feynman. Both of them give the impression that their minds are going about 100x faster than they can actually talk.

    Nibley’s personal letters and writings, though, sound just like my dad!

  4. joe e. says:

    being a recent middle aged convert to LDS, never baptized before but attended different denominations over my life. watching the classes of Hugh Nibley offered on BYUtv, strengthened my testimony and garnered a great appreciation for Mr. Nibley and his life’s work. the PGP is of great interest to me, and those classes just made it all come to into a brighter light as his energy for those works was contagious. Mr. Nibley assuredly is a great treasure loved by many students of Heavenly Father’s Plan!

  5. Joy Bischoff says:

    I was so glad to read your post this morning. I was lying in bed last night wondering if something had happened and hoping you would be back. We will be praying for you and the baby that all goes well.
    Two decades ago, I had people begin asking me to explain Nibley to them. Researching ancient cultures and mythology has been a passion of mine and I finally got my BYU degree in that field. My research and writings brought me to a point of writing a book that is out now that helps explain the pattern that your father identified that opens up temple understanding. I have a book signing at BYU this Friday and another one the next day at Confetti’s in Spanish Fork. I am surprised and pleased at the response. BYU is displaying the book and a lot of Nibley fans are buying it and I am hearing that it is helping them more fully understand his writings.
    One of the reasons I feel so strongly about all of this is because of the movement on campus to debunk his work. One of my professors invited our class to join him and his colleagues in this movement. It breaks my heart and I know it is based on jealousy because of some conversations I had overheard. I believe Nibley is a part of the fulfillment of D&C 128 about knowledge coming forth that has been hid from the foundation of the world. This information will help prepare us for the sealed portion of The Book of Mormon.
    Thank you for this site and good luck with the baby.

  6. Val says:

    Hugh Nibley’s work on Abraham in Egypt, which first appeared in the Improvement Era, introduced me to a different world of gospel instruction. I found his research and insights, expressed in a highly readable way, invigorating intellectually and spiritually. Reading Nibley was like being reborn. I date my intellectual and spiritual maturity to that time in my life. I was teenager at the time, and I had no trouble understanding what he wrote. Yes, he was sometimes over my head, but only sometimes. I was able to feast well enough even at that young age. That was five decades ago. I continue to learn from him as I read the collections of his works–and this blog. I applaud anything you can do to introduce him to this generation of young people.

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