Moving forward with my notes from John W . Welch, et al., eds., Knowing Why: 137 Evidences That the Book of Mormon Is True (American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2017):
“Can Textual Studies Help Readers Understand the Isaiah Chapters in 2 Nephi?” (96-98)
Royal Skousen’s pathbreaking work on the textual history of the Book of Mormon offers a number of insights into the Book of Mormon’s use of Isaiah.
- The base text for 2 Nephi’s Isaiah quotations is definitely the King James Version of the Bible.
- Joseph Smith dictated those quotations; Oliver Cowdery didn’t copy them from a printed text. (He makes spelling errors that are only explicable as the result of oral dictation.)
- The original chapter divisions of the Book of Mormon ignore the chapter divisions in English versions of Isaiah. When Orson Pratt re-divided the Book of Mormon into chapters, he adopted the divisions common to English Bibles.
- The original Book of Mormon manuscript is actually closer to King James Isaiah; whether deliberately or not, Oliver Cowdery made some small changes when he copied the Original Manuscript into the Printer’s Manuscript.
- Some critics, especially, have argued that Joseph Smith limited his changes to the passages italicized in the King James Bible. This is not true.
- There is no evidence that Joseph Smith was consciously editing or correcting himself during his dictation of the Isaiah passages.
- When the Book of Mormon quotes an Isaiah passage more than once, it does so consistently. (Yet there is no evidence that Joseph Smith had a Bible with him during the dictation process, or that he went back to see how he had rendered it earlier.)
- The Isaiah passages in Joseph Smith’s “New Translation of the Bible” are, where appropriate, based upon the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon.
“What Vision Guides Nephi’s Choice of Isaiah Passages?” (99-100)
The books of 1 Nephi and 2 Nephi include seventeen chapters of Isaiah (Isaiah 2-14 and 48-51), in whole or in large part, along with some other Isaianic quotations and paraphrases. It seems that Nephi chose these quite deliberately, as corroborating witnesses to the visions of the future that he himself had received. His visions (and the quotations from Isaiah that follow them) can be summarized quite clearly in four stages of future events:
- Christ’s coming
- The rejection of Christ and the scattering of the Jews
- The day of the Gentiles
- The restoration of Israel and the ultimate victory of good over evil
“How Did Nephi Read Isaiah as a Witness of Christ’s Coming?” (101-102)
Nephi evidently saw Isaiah as something of a kindred spirit — probably because, he believed, both of them had seen Christ. The salient passage in Isaiah’s writing may be his throne theophany in Isaiah 6, which is distinctly parallel to Lehi’s throne theophany in 1 Nephi 1.
If you’re in the mood for a (slightly vulgar) glimpse of how the secular-leftist intellectual elite views Mormonism, this piece (from the Brisbane Times, in Australia) will give you one:
In order to make sense of Ian Warden’s piece, it’s helpful to know that the “Young Liberals” to whom he refers are an affiliate of the Liberal Party of Australia, which occupies a center-right — or should I say “centre-right” — position on the political spectrum.
Incidentally, Ian Warden appears to consider himself part of the sophisticated elite. Whether he actually is, of course, is quite another matter.
From a place that’s genuinely situated among the elite:
The Yale Daily News: “The Mormon You Know”
A nice piece about the Latter-day Saint billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr., who died on Friday:
The latest installment of the bi-weekly Hamblin/Peterson column in the Deseret News:
A reminder that the fourth episode of the Interpreter Radio Show will be broadcast on Sunday evening, between 7 PM and 8 PM, on K-Talk (1640 AM), and that it can also be followed on computer via a link on K-Talk’s webpage. The guests for this broadcast will be Martin Tanner, Kris Frederickson, and Dan Peterson.