Hugh Nibley is the best-known and most highly revered of Latter-day Saint scholars. For over forty years he has enthralled his readers and listeners with his encyclopedic knowledge, his wit, and his untiring research in defense of Latter-day Saint beliefs. It is not saying too much to suggest that he has become a legendary figure in Latter-day Saint academic circles. He has developed a remarkable following among his readers and former students, several of whom now continue his work in academic professions of their own. This book, published by Deseret Book and the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, inaugurates an ambitious multivolume project to gather and publish “all of Hugh Nibley’s published books and articles, as well as many other previously unpublished papers and transcribed talks.” The Collected Works series represents a major effort to honor him for his many accomplishments.
Nibley has had his detractors as well. Because of his unhesitating willingness to speak out in defense of Latter-day Saint positions, he often finds himself a target for the Church’s critics. Since his 1946 publication of No Ma’am, That’s Not History, he has been seen by many as the Church’s chief apologist. Even today, some feel that if they can neutralize the arguments of Hugh Nibley, they have effectively refuted the beliefs of the Church. Nibley himself would undoubtedly agree that such a stance both overestimates his arguments and underestimates the strength of the Church’s teachings. In his role as a defender of the faith, Nibley has served extremely well and deserves our highest admiration and praise. Those of us who share his conviction that the restored gospel is true would do well to emulate his lifelong dedication to defending and sustaining it. My own serious misgivings about his methodology do not detract from my admiration for his life of scholarship consecrated to the highest cause.