Article of the Week | BYU Studies

Article of the Week

Joseph Smith's Cooperstown Bible: The Historical Context of the Bible Used in the Joseph Smith Translation
January 21, 2019
Article of the Week
Joseph Smith's Cooperstown Bible: The Historical Context of the Bible Used in the Joseph Smith Translation
Author Kent P. Jackson,

This daily feature is the introduction to a full article by KentP Jackson that was published in issue 40:1. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

In 1828, the H. and E. Phinney Company in Cooperstown, New York, published a quarto-size edition of the King James Bible. This is the version that Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, used in his work when he created a new translation of the Bible. Here the author examines Joseph Smith's marked-up copy of the Phinney Bible as an artifact important to Mormonism—some of Smith's corrections and additions appear in footnotes of the Bible that Mormons use today. The author notes that the Phinney Bible's updated language is more modern than the version of the Bible Latter-day Saints officially use (the King James), and the modernization may or may not have influenced Joseph Smith's word choice in creating his translation. The author also gives biographical information on the Phinneys, describes how their Bible may have made its way into Joseph Smith's hands, briefly traces the history of the English Bible in America, and describes the printing process employed by the Phinneys.