Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:

“We May Not Understand Our Words”: The Book of Abraham and the Concept of Translation in The Pearl of Greatest Price

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Published by:
Interpreter A Journal of Mormon Scripture
Published:
11/13/2020
Specs:
Digest / 5.25" x 8.25"
52 pages Saddle-stitched
Category:
Religion
Tags:
book of abraham, church history, church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, Joseph Smith, lds, Mormonism, review, terryl givens

Review of Terryl Givens with Brian Hauglid, The Pearl of Greatest Price: Mormonism’s Most Controversial Scripture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019). 285 pages.

Abstract: In recent years there has been an effort among some scholars to make sense of the historical sources surrounding Joseph Smith’s claims to be a translator of ancient records. Terryl Givens, with assistance from Brian Hauglid, has explored the evidence surrounding the Book of Abraham and suggests that, in this case, Joseph Smith may not have translated an ancient record of Abraham’s writings into English as typically believed in the Latter-day Saint community. Givens provides four alternative ways the work of “translating” may have been understood or practiced by the Prophet and his scribes. This essay highlights some evidence that was overlooked, misunderstood, and glossed by Givens, calling into question his fourfold attempt at redefining what it meant for Joseph Smith to translate this ancient record.

Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship: “We Ma...


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