This daily feature is an introduction to a full Book Review by Jeffrey D. Tucker. To read the full text of this review, follow the link below.
Nicholas J. Frederick's new book, The Bible, Mormon Scripture, and the Rhetoric of Allusivity, is a highly detailed analysis in which Frederick compares the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants with the Gospel of John, especially the first eighteen verses of John's Gospel—the Johannine Prologue. In so doing, Frederick argues that Joseph Smith purposefully incorporated biblical allusions into Mormon canonical works to imbue Mormon scripture, the nascent church, and Joseph Smith himself with authority and gravitas—a technique prophets have traditionally used throughout the ages (xiv). According to Frederick, one mark of a prophet, anciently speaking, was allusivity: "By adopting the rhetoric of allusivity, authors intentionally link themselves to earlier text . . . to gain entry into a canon" (xiv). Such, Frederick argues, was Joseph Smith's intention. Quoting Grant Hardy, Frederick suggests that Joseph Smith was simply following the lead of Moroni, who knew "his core audience intimately; [that is,] latter-day Gentiles" (7). To reach such an audience, Frederick avers, Joseph Smith used passages from the King James Bible.