I just recently read the above line (Matt. 2:10) in my study of the New Testament, and I thought it would make a nicely appropriate title for this post. My name is David Larsen and I am very happy to be participating with The Millennial Star as a new contributor. Most of you probably don’t know me — I am a PhD student at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and am the author of a solo blog called Heavenly Ascents. I’ve been blogging for 2+ years now, but never managed to be greatly active on the Bloggernacle (not out of lack of interest — I blame my busy school schedule). However, I have recently been in closer contact with some of the founding members/bloggers here at Millennial Star and (although I have long been familiar with the blog and frequently enjoyed reading it) have recently been increasingly impressed with their dedication, sincerity, and faith. When the opportunity arose for me to contribute to the “Star”, I “rejoiced with exceeding great joy.”
A few more words of introduction — after my mission to Brazil, I came back and got a degree in Near Eastern Studies from BYU. A trip to Israel when I was 15 greatly influenced me, and I have been strongly interested in pursuing religious studies ever since. After my BA degree from BYU, I decided that because I had already started a family (and was dirt poor), I needed to find a job and earn some money before continuing my studies. I ended up working for the Federal Government for about five years before I finally decided it was time for me to go back to school and pursue my dream of a career involving religious studies. After a semester at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I finished my MA in Theology at Marquette University in 2009. As mentioned, I am now working on a PhD in Divinity (Biblical Studies emphasis) at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. We’ve (my wife, four children, and I) been here at St Andrews for over a year now, and we are thoroughly enjoying the experience and immensely grateful for the opportunity.
My principal academic interests include studying both biblical and “extra-biblical” religious writings of Judaism and Christianity, including “intertestamental” writings like the Dead Sea Scrolls. I am very interested in apocalyptic/mystical texts, especially those that describe heavenly visions, including those in which visionaries are allowed to ascend to heaven (hence the title of my solo blog). I am also interested in literature which gives insights into the ancient temple, its theology and rituals. My dissertation research is focused on ritual themes that can be found in the Psalms, and how these themes were perpetuated in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Well, if I haven’t bored you to death already, I hope that I can share with you some of the insights that I am gaining and know that I’ll learn much more through discussing these things with you. My posts will most likely be on scriptural and doctrinal topics, which I hope will be of interest to some of you. I would be happy to consider writing on specific topics of your interest, if there are any suggestions. Again, I am very pleased to be able to contribute to this excellent blog and hope to share with you some of the reasons of the hope that is in me (1 Pet. 3:15).