Imagining the Book of Mormon as a complex work reflecting numerous steps of compilation and abridgment helps explain some curious features of the encounter with Sherem in Jacob 7.
Thinking of the Book of Mormon as the result of a series of textual accretions and combinations might help make sense of how curiously overdetermined the account of Nephite origins is.
Is philological deliberation useful for studying the Book of Mormon? Is it even permitted?
Why is 3 Nephi, which records the central event in the history of Nephite salvation and destruction, located between Helaman and 4 Nephi?
If you trace the history of a text from earlier manuscripts to later ones, it’s not unusual for the text to be extended in various ways.
Unless someone gets lucky with a spade or a metal detector, the full extent of Mormon’s sources will remain unknown. To keep even tentative answers on the side of plausibility rather than fantasy, how we think about Mormon’s sources should be informed by any information we have about Nephite literacy and textual culture.
The logical place for a philological approach to the Book of Mormon to begin is with Mormon, its eponymous editor, and his sources. How much did Mormon know about the Nephites, and what kind of records did he have to work with?
When I look at recent studies of the Book of Mormon, the biggest deficit I see is the lack of instinct for philology.
It’s a heart wrenching decision. A beggar asks you for money. You remember the words of King Benjamin: “Ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain.” You also remember Christ’s commandment to feed…
We all know that the defining sin of the Nephites was pride. But what about the defining sin of the Lamanites? From the very beginning of the Book of Mormon, Nephi focuses on one particular vice. “[A]fter they had dwindled…
Don’t bring immanent evidence to a transcendent argument.
This hit my inbox this afternoon: In case you hadn’t heard, Clark Goble just passed away from a stroke.