Canonical Criticism of the Book of Mormon?

The following is a brief response to Michael Austin's post "Canon as Context: Insights from the Bible Wars" published yesterday at BCC, in which he advocates that more students of the BoM should adopt something along the lines of the canonical criticism developed by biblical scholar Brevard S. Childs as a means of breaking through the debate over BoM historicity.I practice biblical criticism, and while I appreciate Austin's call to focus greater attention on the text of the BoM, I have re … [Read more...]

Diachronic or Synchronic? A Response to Nicholas J. Frederick

IntroductionThe fact that New Testament (NT) language appears throughout the Book of Mormon (BM) has troubled many readers. Some of the initial written responses to the work described in detail the King James English that pervades the text with special attention given to the NT passages that appear sprinkled throughout the book.[1]  Elder B. H. Roberts, who spent many years of his life writing about and defending the BM, discussed the presence of NT phraseology and ascribed the phenomenon to … [Read more...]

Korihor and the Defense of Secularism

Generally, Korihor is understood as a kind of anachronistic representation of secularism by many modern interpreters.  However, it is not at all clear that Korihor represents secularism.  Indeed, his confession notes that a religious experience is what motivated him.Secularism may be defined in various ways, and indeed has enjoyed a rigorous critical discussion over the past decade or so.  For the purposes of this post, I want to examine just two important ways for thinking about the se … [Read more...]

Exploring the Iconic Nature of the Book of Mormon: Part IIb – The Fluid Nature of the Text of the Book of Mormon

I here continue my series of posts dealing with the iconic nature of the Book of Mormon (BoM). For my introduction to this series, see here. For the first half of the current section on textual criticism and the BoM, see here.In my last post I gave a brief description of the various manuscripts and editions of the BoM. I would now like to examine what I have found to be several very interesting textual variants in the BoM textual witnesses. As I stated in my last post, anyone interested in … [Read more...]

The 2013 Adjustments to the Book of Mormon: Accuracy Delayed

This post is written by guest contributor, Grant Hardy.It is a weighty responsibility to decide how God’s word should be presented to the world, and the Church takes this charge very, very seriously. The recent adjustments to the official standard works include many welcome corrections to the headings of the Doctrine and Covenants, but otherwise the revisions are quite minimal. As Elder Neil L. Andersen explained, “members should not feel that they need to purchase a new set of scriptures . . … [Read more...]

Approaching Antiquity: BYU Church History Symposium 2013

In case you haven't seen it, take a break from Wheat and Tares Apologizing and attend the BYU Church History Symposium on Joseph Smith's Study of the ancient world. Richard Bushman, Sam Brown, Matt Bowman, and many more! Looks to be, um, historic! … [Read more...]

Quick and Powerful

And so another Labor Day comes, bringing the end to summer.  May the next summer bring more jobs to those who need them, and some recovery to the household income of those who do have jobs! Now, back to the BoM. I have been wandering around in the BoM looking, from the perspective of a reader of the NT, at how the BoM uses the biblical text. Those who’ve been around for a bit know that sometimes there’s no change and sometimes there's some significant change, usually in a fashion that makes … [Read more...]

Black and White

As I have casually wandered around the BoM this summer looking at how it uses the NT, I have noted instances in which it “clarifies” NT ideas, instances in which it “de-complicates” NT ideas, and instances in which it completely changes the meaning. In this post, I’d like to point out an instance in which an NT idea is “updated” so that it speaks more openly to modern issues.Perhaps the most radically egalitarian statement in the NT is Paul’s affirmation to the Galatians that they have no nee … [Read more...]