A fine line divides scripture from non-scripture, writes Robert M. Price in American Apocrypha. There are books that are not in the Bible that are as powerful and authoritative as anything in the canon. At the same time, much of the Bible was written centures after the events it narrates by scribes using fictitious names. Clearly, the hallmark of scripture is not historic A fine line divides scripture from non-scripture, writes Robert M. Price in American Apocrypha. There are books that are not in the Bible that are as powerful and authoritative as anything in the canon. At the same time, much of the Bible was written centures after the events it narrates by scribes using fictitious names. Clearly, the hallmark of scripture is not historical accuracy but rather its spiritual impact on individuals; exclusion from the canon is not reason to dismiss a book as heretical.Consider the Book of Mormon, first published in 1830. The nature of this volume—in particular its claim to antiquity—is the theme of nine ground-breaking essays in American Apocrypha. Thomas W. Murphy discusses the Book of Mormon’s view that American Indians are descendants of ancient Hebrews. In recent DNA tests, Native Americans have proven to be of Siberian ancestry and not of ancient Jewish or Middle Eastern descent. Nor is the Book of Mormon a traditional translation from an ancient document, writes David P. Wright, as indicated by the underlying Hebrew in the book’s Isaiah passages. Other contributors to American Apocrypha explore the evolution of ideas in the Book of Mormon during the course of its dictation.Editors Dan Vogel and Brent Metcalfe have chosen essays by authors who represent a wide range of disciplines and perspectives: Robert Price edits the Journal of Higher Criticism; Thomas Murphy chairs the anthropology department at Edmonds Community College; David Wright teaches Hebrew Bible at Brandeis University. They are joined by Scott C. Dunn; Edwin Firmage, Jr.; George D. Smith; and Susan Staker—all of whom explore what can be reasonably asserted about the Book of Mormon as scripture....
|Title||:||American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon|
|Number of Pages||:||288 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon Reviews
A modern critique of the Book of Mormon. I remember that it verified my views (Book of Mormon is NOT a historical document – it is not ‘true’) but I suspect it won’t really shake the faith of any true believer. (Though, honestly, ‘facts’ will never shake the faith of any true believer.)
I heard about this book by listening to an Ex Mo Conference presentation podcast given by one of the editors, Brent Metcalfe. I was listening and thinking, "Geez, if this guy is anti-Mormon--this thoughtful, brilliant, super smart, calm guy--if HE'S anti-Mormon, I guess I just don't know what that means any more." Seems to me the guy was just following truth where it led him and being pretty nice about it. On top of that, he's something of a genius and I have loads of respect for him after listening to his presentation.So I decided to read the book he mentioned, American Apocrypha, which was a bit of a challenge for me to track down. It also wasn't cheap to purchase. I can't rate the book on how it's written, since the authors changed every essay. Some of the essays are easier to read than others (one author's essay was painful to read - very choppy. Another's essay was just way, way too long (but extra points for thoroughness!)), but all of them were insightful and compelling. In fact the very last essay in the book is one I'm going to ask my True Believing Mormon husband to read. I think his perspective on the Book of Mormon is a great place for him and I to find middle ground, namely: Of course the Book of Mormon was made up by Joseph Smith, but does that make it any less great?! What's a religious genius to do when all of the scripture has already been written? Write some new stuff and claim it's old stuff, of course! That's what lots of people did, even in the Old Testament. ... Brilliant.I appreciated all of the perspectives contained in this book. I don't know if I ascribe 100% to any of the theories put out on the various topics, but I know that I'm a more informed person for having read them. Turns out these guys make some REALLY good points.I haven't been deep into "anti-Mormon" stuff, but if this book is typical for anti-Mormon fare, I guess anti-Mormon = truthful / thoughtful / critical / analytical. That's something of a strike against Mormonism, I would say.
The tedious outweighs the brilliant in this collection. The slight majority of the essays are unsympathetic and calculating. Several sacrifice factual objectivity (or at the very least, credibility) for poorly hidden agendas, and those that do, fail to be academically endearing in any way. At the same time, there are some essays that treat their subjects, who surround the myth/history of the Book of Mormon, with understanding and compassion. I could immediately tell who wrote from a sincere interest in Mormon studies and who wrote from a penchant for revenge. And, to be honest, there was one essay (maybe two) that I couldn't finish from the boredom. In no other religious discourse, from anywhere in the world, is any "secular" (for lack of a better term just now) viewpoint taken seriously if it is compromised with bitterness and anger. Why then, is it embraced so often in Mormon studies? I look forward to the day when editors like Metcalfe don't simply try to balance their selections between "anti-Mormon scholars" and "sympathetic-to-Mormons scholars" but rather make selections based solely on the viability of the research.So, briefly, some of the essays I enjoyed: George D. Smith's "B.H. Roberts: Book of Mormon Apologetic and Skeptic" and Susan Staker's "Secret Things, Hidden Things: The Seer Story in the Imaginative Economy of Joseph Smith" increased my understanding of issues regarding the Book of Mormon. Thomas Murphy's "Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics" was also well-written and thought-provoking.
This book addresses various components of the B of M. I especially enjoyed the chapters on historical criticism, automaticity, anti-masonry, and pseudipigraphia. Price's chapter on pseudipigraphia was probably the most enjoyable chapter. J.S.'s BofM can certainly be seen as fitting within an American tradition and a Christian tradition of developing a theology that is more Christian than its predecessors.