Journal 54:2 | BYU Studies

Journal 54:2

Volume 54:2 (2015)
BYU Studies Quarterly 54, no. 2, starts off with a message from BYU President Kevin Worthen as he encourages BYU Studies to continue in its role supporting the mission of BYU, to publish works that reflect scholarship and faith. Avram Shannon asks whether the Joseph Smith Translation is a midrash and carefully explains that Midrash, a rabbinic commentary on the Hebrew Bible, is similar only in...Read more

Two Challenges Facing Brigham Young University as a Religiously Affiliated University

On March 28, 2015, Brigham Young University president Kevin J Worthen addressed the annual meeting of the BYU Studies Academy about the challenges BYU faces as a religiously affiliated university in an increasingly secular world. After discussing what a religiously affiliated university is and how these institutions are becoming increasingly rare, President Worthen focused primarily on two... Read more

Mormons and Midrash: On the Composition of Expansive Interpretation in Genesis Rabbah and the Book of Moses

Different groups and religious traditions create different genres of interpretation to work with and understand their scriptures according to the needs of their traditions. One form of interpretation involves reopening the Bible and expanding on the narrative of the already canonized text, such as is found in the rabbinic genre of midrash and in Joseph Smith's New Translation (JST) of the Bible... Read more

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

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... Read more

"Taking a Different View of the Translation": The Illumination of Alternate Meanings in the Translation of Bible Passages by Joseph Smith and Meister Eckhart

Tod R Harris, project manager and senior linguist over scripture translation support for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, looks at creative and revelatory translations of the Bible performed by Church founder Joseph Smith and Meister Eckhart, a fourteenth-century scholastic and Dominican preacher. Comparing and contrasting translations of Bible verses that these two religious... Read more

Saying Goodbye

This personal essay describes the discovery that the author's mother has early-onset Alzheimer's. The particulars of how this dread disease unfolds and how it steals a relative away from loved ones while the body is still alive is poignantly detailed. Alzheimer's sufferers do sometimes have moments of lucidity. The ultimate lesson is that we need to use those opportunities to tell stricken family... Read more

Joseph B. Keeler, Print Culture, and the Modernization of Mormonism, 1885–1918

Joseph B. Keeler was a leader in the early days of Brigham Young University. He served as a bishop in Provo, Utah, over a ward that included a large number of young men. Keeler felt these youth needed mentoring, and he developed the first manuals for them, as well as textbooks for the religion classes he was teaching at BYU. His contribution helped the LDS Church's managerial revolution and... Read more

The Inception of Brigham Young University's Archival Program, 1956–1962

The University Archives at Brigham Young University was established in 1956 under the direction of BYU President Ernest L. Wilkinson and the library director, S. Lyman Tyler. The first archivist, Ralph Hansen, preserved records from some previous presidents of BYU that were stored in a small room in the Maeser Building. He organized and preserved these records but struggled with lack of space as... Read more

The Christus in Context: A Photo Essay

This photo essay features a number of images of Bertel Thorvaldsen's famous sculptures in the Vor Frue Kirke (The Church of Our Lady) in Copenhagen, Denmark. Not only is the Christus prominently depicted, but also shown are images of the twelve Apostles, a baptismal font in the form of an angel, and the scriptural captions that accompany these works. The essay presents a brief history of... Read more

Minerva Teichert's The Seduction of Corianton

A previously unknown oil sketch by Minerva Teichert (1888–1976), the pioneering LDS woman artist, was recently acquired by an art collector when it came up for sale in Salt Lake City. This small painting depicts the temptation of Corianton, a son of Alma in the Book of Mormon. The painting had been owned for many years by a Wyoming rancher who received it from Teichert as a birthday gift when he... Read more

From My Brother's Perspective: Two Artists Painting Gospel Themes

The exhibition From My Brother's Perspective, which was held at the Harold B. Lee Library in September 2014, brought together the gospel-themed paintings of two contemporary Latter-day Saint artists from divergent cultural backgrounds. Chiloba Chirwa is a BYU student from Lusaka, Zambia, majoring in construction management. He is largely self-taught and, by his own admission, simply paints as a... Read more

Between Materialism and the Metaphysics of Eternity: A Reply to Joseph M. Spencer's Review of Responsibility of Reason

BYU Studies strives to involve readers in the LDS academic experience. In that spirit, we offer this scholarly exchange between Ralph C. Hancock and Joseph M. Spencer based on Spencer's "Goodness and Truth: An Essay on Ralph Hancock's The Responsibility of Reason," found in BYU Studies Quarterly 53, no. 4 (2014): 61–73. It is a blessing to have Joseph Spencer's serious reading of my book from a... Read more

Feast of Epiphany

Access the PDF Download to view the full content of this poem. Read more

Mormon Women in Memoir

STEPHANIE NIELSON. Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy. New York: Hyperion, 2012. Reviewed by Jacqueline S. Thursby. ELIZABETH SMART, with CHRISTOPHER STEWART. My Story. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2013. Reviewed by Rosalyn Collings Eves. JANA RIESS. Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor. Brewster... Read more

Roads in the Wilderness: Conflict in Canyon Country

In this superb, award-winning study, Jedediah S. Rogers, state historian and co-managing editor of the Utah Historical Quarterly, traces the history of conflicts over roads in Utah's backcountry. This book is a must-read for anyone who identifies with and frequents southern Utah's rugged canyonlands. While roads facilitate travel and commerce, Rogers plumbs their cultural significance as "... Read more

Speculative Grace: Bruno Latour and Object-Oriented Theology

Adam Miller's work Speculative Grace deserves more than one reading. In essence, it is metaphysical poetry utilizing Bruno Latour's writings to approach theology outside of a traditional, theistic, and orthodox worldview. Latour's avant-garde, object-oriented philosophy (OOP), in brief, analyzes the components, forces, limitations, and interactions of material objects in an ordinary universe... Read more

Elijah Abel: The Life and Times of a Black Priesthood Holder

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its relationship to black people continues to be a relevant topic in the Church today. Indeed, the Church recently released a document disavowing as official doctrine previous rationales for the priesthood ban while reaffirming that "all are alike unto God." Along with the Church's voice are a spate of recent scholarly books that recently... Read more