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The Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon: Typographical Facsimile of the Extant Text Hardcover – May 15, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 553 pages
  • Publisher: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship (May 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0934893047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0934893046
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 9 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Royal Skousen is Professor of Linguistics and English Language at Brigham Young University. In 1972 he received his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He has taught linguistics at the University of Illinois, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California at San Diego, and as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Tampere in Finland. In 2001 he was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Skousen's work in linguistics has dealt chiefly with developing a theory of language called Analogical Modeling, a theory that predicts language behavior by means of examples rather than by rules. He has published three books on this subject: Analogical Modeling of Language (1989), Analogy and Structure (1992), and Analogical Modeling: An Exemplar-Based Approach to Language (2002). More recently, he has published on the quantum computation of Analogical Modeling, notably in his 2005 paper "Quantum Analogical Modeling" (available at www.arXiv.org).

Skousen began working on the critical text of the Book of Mormon in 1988. In 2001 he published the first two volumes of the Critical Text Project, namely, typographical facsimiles for the original and printer's manuscripts of the Book of Mormon. From 2004 through 2009 he published the six books that make up volume 4 of the critical text, Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon. This work represents the central task of the Critical Text Project, to restore by scholarly means the original text of the Book of Mormon, to the extent possible.

In 2009 Skousen published with Yale University Press the culmination of his critical work on the Book of Mormon text, namely, The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text. The Yale edition presents the reconstructed original text in a clear-text format, without explanatory intervention. Unlike modern editions of the Book of Mormon that have added chapter summaries, scriptural cross-references, dates, and footnotes, this edition consists solely of the words dictated by Joseph Smith in 1828-29, as far as they can be established through standard methods of textual criticism. Later emendations by scribes, editors, and even Joseph Smith himself have been omitted, except for those that appear to restore original readings.

Anyone opening the Yale edition will immediately be struck by the sense-lines format of the Book of Mormon text -- that is, the way the lines of the text are broken up according to phrases and clauses. Joseph Smith dictated the book to scribes who wrote down his words. His dictation did not indicate punctuation, sentence structure, or paragraphing. These he left, ultimately, to the discretion of the printer. Consequently, the Yale edition constitutes a scholarly effort to present to the reader a dictated rather than a written text. To that end, Skousen decided to adopt the sense-line format. He makes no claim that the sense-lines adopted in The Earliest Text represent Joseph Smith's actual dictation breaks, but the first verbalization of the text would have sounded something like the result of reading the sense-lines out loud.

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. Peterson on August 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Along with the other volume already out and those that are essentially complete but still waiting to be published, this represents one of the most impressive efforts of solo scholarship that I've ever seen, and it will undoubtedly be the definitive work on the text and textual history of the Book of Mormon for the conceivable future.
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Royal Skousen has spent decades studying the Original Manuscript and the Printer's Manuscript of The Book of Mormon along with the 1830 and other editions of the book that came out during Joseph Smith's lifetime and under his direction (and those later editions from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the, now, Community of Christ, as well). His work is an invaluable resource for those of us who are fascinated in how this scripture came to be.

The culmination of his work is the 2009 publication of "The Book of Mormon - The Earliest Text" through Yale University Press. A book I recommend highly, strongly, and fervently. That work was based on the multi-volume study that Skousen has been working on for a long time. In fact, he is still working on volumes in that series. The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text

This book is a fascinating look at the less than 30% of the original manuscript that still remains of "The Book of Mormon" as it was translated and dictated by Joseph Smith under the guidance of the Spirit to his scribes. This book explains what happened to the text. Most of the damage was done by the decades of moisture and mold it faced as it spent decades in the cornerstone of the unfinished Nauvoo House. Later, Emma Smith's second husband made presents of some pages from the manuscript, and sold others.

This volume is NOT a photographic presentation of the pages and fragments that remain. Instead, it is a "typographic" representation of the text. There are some photos of the pages and pieces as they exist, but they are largely illegible without special photographic techniques such as using ultraviolet light.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jason Covell on March 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Royal Skousen (and his team) have pulled off a marvel in producing this exhaustively researched series. When so much that is done in the name of Book of Mormon "scholarship" is based on second-hand understanding, not to mention myth and rumour, this and subsequent volumes will be a solid foundation for serious textual studies for decades to come. The Book of Mormon, regardless of your view of its origins, is a religious text that deserves no less.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Spencer on April 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Skousen's decades if painstaking effort have provided a whole new landscape for critical study of the Book of Mormon. Along with his Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text and his Printers Manuscript volumes, this book is an indispensable resource for studies of the Book of Mormon that rely on an accurate and original text. The Book of Mormon, unlike most books, was better written in its original manuscript form (except for misspellings) than after editing. Skousen has been able to restore clarity to many passages by recovering the original language--language lost by copying errors or misguided "corrections." For example, see Alma 37:41.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen L Moreland on November 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent resource to add to your Book of Mormon library. Pictures of the fragments of the original text are worth the price of this wonderful work alone, plus Royal.Skousen has carefully transcribed the writing. This is part of a three volume set, and worth adding to one's library for reference.
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