One of the comments following the Deseret News column a week or two ago in which I summarily dismissed the so-called “Spalding Theory” of Book of Mormon origins lamented the fact that my newspaper column — apparently quite unlike most newspaper columns — fails to include footnotes and bibliographical references. (This isn’t actually quite true, but we’ll leave it at that for purposes of argument.) Another comment proceeded, quite as if I hadn’t said anything at all about the subject, to observe that the Spalding Theory is intriguing and remains largely unchallenged.
So, inspired by those two comments, here is a brief bibliography of some very important items published on the Spalding Theory within the past decade in response to two relatively recent attempts to resuscitate it. A much more extensive bibliography of materials both pro and con can be deduced from their footnotes:
Matthew Roper, “The Mythical ‘Manuscript Found,’ FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 7-140.
Matthew Roper, “Myth, Memory, and ‘Manuscript Found,” FARMS Review 21/2 (2009): 179-223.
G. Bruce Schaalje, Paul J. Fields, Matthew Roper, and Gregory L. Snow, “Extended Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification: A New Method for Open-Set Authorship Attribution of Texts of Varying Sizes,” Literary and Linguistic Computing 26/1 (2011): 71-88
G. Bruce Schaalje, Mathew Roper, and Paul Fields, “Examining a Misapplication of Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification to Investigate Book of Mormon Authorship,” Mormon Studies Review [formerly FARMS Review] 23/1 (2011): 87-111.
Matthew Roper and Paul Fields, “The Historical Case against Sidney Rigdon’s Authorship of the Book of Mormon,” Mormon Studies Review [formerly FARMS Review] 23/1 (2011): 113-125.
G. Bruce Schaalje and Paul J. Fields, “Open-Set Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification,” Communications in Statistics: Theory and Methods 41 (2012): 638-52.
There is, in my view and in that of every single serious historian of Mormonism of whom I’m aware, whether believer or unbeliever, no merit whatsoever in the Spalding Theory. These pieces will help to explain why.