long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Royal Skousen and the Printer's Manuscript

I attended Royal Skousen's lecture last Thursday about the publication of the Printer's Manuscript of the Book of Mormon. It was excellent and will likely be available online sometime, but for now, those interested can watch his similar presentation here.

Skousen has done tremendous work on analyzing the manuscripts and the early editions of the Book of Mormon. He published a series of books about his work (the critical text project) that used to be available online at the Maxwell Institute here. It looks like they've disabled the link to download them, however, probably because of the new publication by the Joseph Smith papers, which is available here.

I have relied on Skousen's work quite a bit. His approach helped me analyze the Times and Seasons, for example, to help determine authorship of anonymous articles. I'll be publishing that information in upcoming weeks.

While the detailed discussion of a particular penstroke or punctuation mark might seem highly technical, it's important to remember, when reading the Book of Mormon, that the meaning of a particular passage can be affected by punctuation, which did not exist in the original manuscript. Skousen's work has shed a lot of light on the translation process, as well.

Digital versions of the printer's manuscript are available here. These aren't as nice as the color photos in the new printed books, but they are still useful.

1 comment:

  1. FYI, all six volumes of Skousen's critical analysis of Book of Mormon textual differences are available online here: