Article of the Week | BYU Studies

Article of the Week

January 22, 2018
Article of the Week
Joseph Smith Translating Genesis
Author Kent P. Jackson

This daily feature is the introduction to a full article by Kent P. Jackson that was published in our newest issue, 56:4. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

Joseph Smith's revision of the Bible was one of his signature projects as founder and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (originally called the Church of Christ). He began it sometime in June 1830, just three months after the first copies of the Book of Mormon came out of the bindery of the Howard and Grandin Company in Palmyra, New York. The Bible project lasted three years, until July 1833, when he dictated the last pages and declared the work finished. The venture was formidable, eventually producing seven manuscripts totaling 446 pages.

The Prophet and his contemporaries called the resulting text the "New Translation," and he identified his work on it as "translating." Yet it was not a Bible translation in the sense of rendering ancient Hebrew and Greek words into a modern language. Instead, he was recasting the text into a new form—often creating something new from words already found in the English Bible and sometimes adding whole new narratives and discourses with no biblical counterpart.