I'm pleased to say that the Maxwell Institute at BYU will publish Professor Hatem's book in an English translation: Postponing Heaven: The Three Nephites, the Bodhisattva, and the Mahdî. It is in press and should be available sometime this fall, and I hope that it will show that Mormonism is a topic for sophisticated academic discussion. I don't think those discussions are necessary to Mormonism as a faith. The simplicity of the gospel doesn't demand philosophical or theological reflection. It requires the simplicity of faith in Jesus Christ and a change of heart that emanates in a new life.
But there is a place for academic reflections, and Jad Hatem shows us a way of looking at the Book of Mormon, as a book with a profound ethical and salvational teaching about the necessity of self-sacrifice. Professor Hatem's approach is original, especially in that it focuses on a story that many Mormons consider marginal, highlighting that story as emblematic of the book's message. His analysis has turned their story from something that I paid little attention to into a central metaphor for Christian life.