Study Resources

I’ve realised putting up a list of various resources I’ve found helpful, particularly for studying the scriptures, could be a useful thing, so here it is. This is by no means an exhaustive list, as I’ll be adding things as I’m reminded of them. Expect to see this updated in the future.

 

Paper Texts

In addition to those actually printed by the Church, there’s several other useful editions of the Book of Mormon available on paper.

1830 Book of Mormon (and 1833 Book of Commandments and 1835 Doctrine and Covenants)

http://www.heraldhouse.org/custom/web/list.asp?c=20465

The Community of Christ (formerly RLDS) publishing house Herald House publishes inexpensive replicas of the 1830 Book of Mormon as well as the original Book of Commandments and Doctrine and Covenants. Well worth obtaining.

The Book of Mormon: A Readers Edition edited by Grant Hardy

Available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Mormon-Readers/dp/025207341X/

For copyright reasons, Grant Hardy uses the 1920 edition of the text itself, but he formats it into paragraphs, and includes features such as marking quotations and setting out poetry into poetic lines. He likewise includes a number of appendices covering witnesses (including Mary Whitmer and Emma Smith), significant changes to the text, chronology and key genealogies. Were I teaching the Book of Mormon in something like a university setting, I’d probably recommend this text, and I’d also recommend it for the curious reader. All of Grant Hardy’s royalties from the book are donated to the Church’s humanitarian fund too.

The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text edited by Royal Skousen

Available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Mormon-Original-Text-x/dp/0300142188/

The fruit of Royal Skousen’s decades long work (see below), this is the outcome of his conclusions regarding the form of the earliest dictated text. It’s thus invaluable from an academic perspective, even if it misses out some of the later revisions authorised by Joseph Smith himself that the Church would happily accept as part of the canonical text. Some of the readings suggested by his research into the original and printers manuscripts are particularly interesting, such as the possibility that the BoM Amlicites and Amulekites are actually the same people. Skousen has also taken the bold step of repunctuating the work, which is fair enough since the original manuscript was largely without punctuation leaving the type-setter, John Gilbert, to produce the punctuation mostly followed other editions. He likewise formats the text into ‘sense-lines’, which makes for an interesting reading experience. I think several of Skousen’s more conjectural emendations are less sound (such as ‘pleading bar’ rather than ‘pleasing bar’), but overall I highly recommend his book. It’s a very sturdy hardback too, with a pleasingly clear font.

 

Electronic Texts

Wordcruncher

http://www.wordcruncher.com/

Perhaps one of the most valuable electronic tools I use. While it has access to a wide range of texts (a large number for free), I’d still find it incredibly useful because it combines access to the LDS Scriptures with a really really useful search engine. Being able to see, at a glance, precisely where in the standard works a particular phrase is used is incredibly helpful, even if one is pretty familiar with them.

The Joseph Smith Papers

http://josephsmithpapers.org/

The definitive project for collating and publishing all the manuscripts of Joseph Smith’s own writings and documents associated with him. Of particular interest from a Book of Mormon perspective, the website has the complete printers manuscript of the Book of Mormon available via a digitized copy of a photostatic copy made in 1923. It also has digital versions of key Book of Mormon editions (including the 1830, the 1837 and 1840 editions), and other LDS scripture (such as the 1833 Book of Commandments and the 1835 and 1844 Doctrine and Covenants, and many of the manuscripts of the revelations included in those). It also has much much more. It is being continuously updated, so the Church History department seems hard at work.

Archive.org

http://archive.org/

A useful repository of scans of all sorts of old books, which are easily browsable and in many cases searchable. This site is particularly invaluable if you’re looking for hard to find books, and especially if you actually need page numbers and see the original formatting that you won’t get in any modern reprint. I’ve used this for a range of documents, including things like Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews, but one can also obtain PDF copies of early Book of Mormon editions, such as the 1830 edition and the 1840 edition. Though sadly the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants seems unavailable, so go to The Joseph Smith Papers for that.

 

Other resources

Analysis of Textual Variations of the Book of Mormon by Royal Skousen

http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/books/volume-4-of-the-critical-text-of-the-book-of-mormon-analysis-of-textual-variants-of-the-book-of-mormon/

Royal Skousen’s 4000 page analysis of every textual variation in every edition (including what we have of the manuscripts) of the Book of Mormon ever. Understandably quite dry (since most of the variations are quite minor), but really the definitive resource for anyone whose research overlaps into this area, as Skousen is meticulous in presenting all the evidence, even if one disagrees with some of his conjectural conclusions. Royal Skousen generously allowed this to be hosted online to view for free after it became apparent to him that few people had access to the original printed copies. As I happened to be one of those people, my only wish could be that it’d gone up sooner, as it’d have saved me a bit of work!

Interpreter, a Journal of Mormon Scripture

http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/

As well as hosting Skousen’s work, Interpreter is a regular journal that now has a large range of articles, principally from a believing and (quasi-)academic viewpoint as the ideological successor to FARMS.

Hugh Nibley Archive – Maxwell Institute

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/people/hugh-nibley/

I’m sceptical of much of the recent direction of the Maxwell Institute (as I’m sure a few of my posts have shown). However, they still have a wealth of material that they and previously FARMS published. That includes the above list of books and articles by High Nibley, all available to read, many of which can be read for free by following the links, as well as archives of the FARMS review and other books that can be found elsewhere on the website.

“Book of Mormon Central”

http://bookofmormoncentral.org/

A fairly new site, but one with a lot of content, from a similar perspective to Interpreter (with whom it shares some people). It includes access to an electronic edition of Skousen’s Earliest Text, and an archive of a range of articles from sources such as FARMS and BYU Studies on the Book of Mormon, with many of these articles available to read . I have yet to make much use of this site, and I confess I find the term “KnoWhy” annoying and a bit too cutesy, and just looking through those I find many of them a bit simplistic and with avoidable errors. There’s enough material in the archives, however, that the site may prove of use.

 

One thought on “Study Resources

  1. Pingback: New ‘Study Resources’ page | David's random ramblings

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