Author Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, PhD in cognitive science and a senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), has written professionally on various topics in human and machine intelligence, has presented at meetings of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR), and has published articles on Mormon themes appearing in 2009 and 2010. The central focus of this book is an exegesis of the “book of Moses, a revelatory expansion of the first chapters of Genesis” and “Joseph Smith’s translation of the early narratives of Genesis” (xxi, xxii).
The core of the book, around which all the other six sections are shaped, is a 476-page commentary by Bradshaw of Moses chapter 1 through chapter 6 verse 12. The intent here is to provide the reader with both the “plain sense” of the scriptural words as well as their context and relevance to modern audiences. The stories of the council in heaven, plan of salvation, Creation, Fall, Garden of Eden, and others found in the book of Moses are not only explained by the author but also illustrated with extensive excerpts from ancient texts, scholarly research, and explanations by LDS prophets. This is accomplished in three parts: the author’s commentary; 4,599 footnotes and 320 longer “endnotes” at the end of each of the six chapters of commentary; and 274 pages of detailed discussion (“Excursus”) of 55 subjects related to matters raised in the commentary. Following upon and excerpting the work of Hugh Nibley and John M. Lundquist, as well as other scholars, historians, and LDS leaders, the book also illustrates how temple themes are woven into and expand our understanding of the story the book of Moses tells.
This book also offers useful study aids: thirty-two pages of beautiful color plates of artwork related to the stories of the book of Moses, an extensive bibliography, an appendix with various LDS documents on the origin of man, and a 103-page “Annotated Bibliography of Ancient Texts Related to the Book of Moses and JST Genesis.” This bibliography lists and briefly describes ancient Near Eastern, Old Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hammadi, Gnostic, Islamic and other texts—so often cited in scholarly research. But for those not constantly working with these texts, this bibliography will be helpful.
At 1,102 pages, this tome is not for the casual reader. It appears to be intended not only as a commentary but also a reference book, amalgamating in one place all the current scholarly and prophetic knowledge concerning the Book of Moses and the doctrinal subjects it treats. This is an ambitious project. Its value to each reader will be determined by careful reading.