A Narrative Approach to the Joseph Smith Translation of the Synoptic Gospels | BYU Studies

A Narrative Approach to the Joseph Smith Translation of the Synoptic Gospels

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A Narrative Approach to the Joseph Smith Translation of the Synoptic Gospels

Author Jared W. Ludlow

One of the first projects Joseph Smith undertook after the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a translation of the Bible. While it is called a "translation," Joseph did not work from original Greek or Hebrew manuscripts, and what he did was more to clarify the text. Some of the changes greatly modify the original narrative through altering and adding to the narrator's descriptions of characters settings, and plot events. This paper hones in on Smith's changes in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. These changes add information about the character of Jesus and his disciples, define certain phrases, harmonize the Gospels, and provide transitions in the narrative. These alterations often have theological as well as narratorial implications.