Bountiful Harvest is a collection of essays written and assembled in honor of S. Kent Brown, recently retired professor of ancient scripture and Near Eastern studies at Brigham Young University. An impressive array of colleagues, former students, teachers, admirers, and friends of Professor Brown have contributed to this handsome volume, resulting in twenty-one essays that are a worthy tribute to Brown’s legacy. The volume includes an introduction by the editors in well-deserved praise of Brown’s career and significant achievements, and also an appendix listing his many published works.
As the list of his writings attests, S. Kent Brown is recognized for the breadth of his interests and the diversity of his expertise, and as the editors put it, these essays “are something of a capsulized summary of his career and interests” (xi). The topics covered include canonical and extracanonical texts; studies on Old and New Testament subjects; Mormon studies; Egyptian, Jewish, Islamic, early Christian, and Coptic studies; theological treatises; the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price; the Dead Sea Scrolls; linguistic analyses; and archaeological findings.
The diversity of topics covered, combined with the high quality of academic scrutiny displayed, exemplifies an important aspect of LDS scholarship that should be cherished and preserved. As the academy continues to follow the trend of increasing specialization and compartmentalization, LDS scholars do well to follow Brown’s lead and engage in the type of intertextual and interdisciplinary studies that have proved to be of great value to the Latter-day Saint community.
Bountiful Harvest presents something of interest for almost all readers. Although most essays are written for an LDS audience, many will be of interest to a broader body of readers as well, including scholars in the various disciplines covered and also interested laypersons. The volume includes, for example, an article by Jacob Neusner, a renowned scholar of Jewish studies who is not LDS but whose work will be of interest to the Mormon community. Many will profit from the knowledge shared in this book, just as many have benefited from the scholarship of the man whom it honors.