A Mormon Research Effort without Peer

Professor Royal Skousen is a linguist at Brigham Young University who has authored such tomes as Substantive Evidence in Phonology: The Evidence from Finnish and French (The Hague: Mouton, 1975), Analogical Modeling of Language (Dordrecht and Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1989), Analogy and Structure (Dordrecht and Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992), and, with Deryle Lonsdale and Dilworth B. Parkinson, Analogical Modeling: An Exemplar-Based Approach to Language (Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2002).

For much of the past quarter century, though, he has also devoted himself to the textual history of the Book of Mormon, including the Original and Printer’s Manuscripts of the book.  He knows more about the subject than anybody else ever has, including Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and I’m firmly convinced that his project represents one of the most impressive solo scholarly undertakings in the history of Mormonism.  In fact, I’m not sure that it really has any genuine rivals.

Moreover, it has provided fascinating insights into the Book of Mormon, including, but definitely not limited to, the phenomenon that I discuss here.

The products of his meticulous labors continue to appear, but have, thus far, been published in a series of large and beautifully produced volumes from the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), which is now more widely known as the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University.

The results of his research are most accessible and user-friendly in his edition of The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009).  I recommend it to every serious reader of the Book of Mormon.  Enthusiastically.


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