Journal 45:2 | BYU Studies

Journal 45:2

Volume 45:2 (2006)
In 1897, President Wilford Woodruff made an audio recording. He spoke of Joseph Smith giving charge to the Twelve Apostles, describing Joseph as being "covered with a power I had never seen in any man in the flesh before." In September 2006, a rare set of engraved Roman bronze plates from AD 109 will go on display in BYU's Harold B. Lee Library. Two articles in this issue discuss the plates'...Read more

Media and Message

An increasing number of strident voices are questioning the reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in reconstructing the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Some scholars argue that the New Testament Gospels are not faithful to the real Jesus of history. These individuals also suggest that if other accounts, which the early church lost or suppressed, were available and used by readers today, they... Read more

The Manuscript of the Gospel of Judas

Because of the fractured path that led to the recovery of the Gospel of Judas, some details of the discovery of this document and its three companion texts are already lost, though a story reporting many details has been published. Herbert Krosney's The Lost Gospel recounts that these four documents, bound into one codex (the ancient form of a book), came to light in Middle Egypt some sixty... Read more

The "Unhistorical" Gospel of Judas

Attributed to Jesus' disciple Judas Iscariot, the Gospel of Judas (Codex Tchacos) purports to preserve a private conversation between the mortal Savior and the Apostle who would betray him. A major question arising from this recently discovered Gnostic gospel is whether it contains any credible historical information about Judas, Jesus, or any of Jesus' other disciples. There are several features... Read more

The Gnostic Context of the Gospel of Judas

The Gospel of Judas views Jesus and his ministry from a Gnostic perspective—a very different perspective from the one described in the canonical Gospels. Read more

Judas in the New Testament, the Restoration, and the Gospel of Judas

A review of information about Judas in the New Testament and in Latter-day Saint teachings gives us a basis from which to evaluate the Gospel of Judas. The comparison demonstrates that teachings contained in the Gospel of Judas are far removed from what Latter-day Saints understand about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Read more

The Apocryphal Judas Revisited

Reading the Gospel of Judas and much that has been said about it makes one wonder, how could such a thing happen? How could anyone take the New Testament stories of Judas (of which the writer of the Gospel of Judas is clearly aware) and distort the story so diametrically? How could such a negative story be turned on its head, with evil being called good, and good being called evil? Read more

Two Ancient Roman Plates

The 1998 festschrift in honor of John L. Sorenson contains a lengthy chapter about the ancient practice of doubling, sealing, and witness­ing important documents. That article illustrated this legal practice in several ways, including photographs of a pair of Roman bronze plates from Mainz, Germany, dating to AD 103. In September 2006, Brigham Young University will receive a similar pair of... Read more

A Metallurgical Provenance Study of the Marcus Herennius Military Diploma

The bronze used to make the military diploma for the Roman soldier Marcus Herennius in AD 109 is heterogeneous in texture and com­position. In contrast to modern bronze, lead (Pb) inclusions are common, and the bronze shows a considerable range in copper (Cu) (73 to 92.7 weight percent) and tin (Sn) (6.1 to 26.5 weight percent). Lead isotopic com­positions are identical to those of copper coins... Read more

Will the Murderers Be Hung? Albert Brown's 1844 Letter and the Martyrdom of Joseph Smith

Albert Brown's November 11, 1844, letter from Nauvoo to his New York relatives adds significantly to the historical record of Joseph Smith's martyrdom. Brown wrote from the perspective of one loyal to Joseph Smith. When studied in connection with antagonistic accounts published earlier in BYU Studies , readers of the letter can sense the views, loyalties, and hostilities of the bitterly divided... Read more

An Original Daguerreotype of Oliver Cowdery Identified

During my graduate studies I took on the project of obtaining photographic images of each apostle of this dispensation. The task proved difficult, but I found photographic likeness for all but seven members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My interest in collecting daguerreotypes has continued since that day, and it has... Read more

This Is My Testimony, Spoken by Myself into a Talking Machine: Wilford Woodruff's 1897 Statement in Stereo

In March 1844, just weeks before his martyrdom, Joseph Smith "called the Twelve Apostles together and he delivered unto them the ordinances of the Church and the kingdom of God." Wilford Woodruff noted the events of the day in a terse journal entry. March "26th A rainey day. I met in council with the brethren." Perhaps the sacredness and magnitude of the meeting called for a brief, cryptic note... Read more

Francis Webster: The Unique Story of One Handcart Pioneer's Faith and Sacrifice

One of the best-known and best-loved stories of the Mormon pioneers is the testimony of Francis Webster, a member of the Martin Handcart Company. Although his name has increasingly become associated with his statement, he is still better known as the unnamed old man in the corner of a Sunday School class who arose to silence criticism directed toward those who allowed that company to come west... Read more

Jesus Christ as Elder Brother

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often refer to Jesus Christ as their elder brother. This expression of endearment appears in sermons, lessons, and publications. In current usage, the term elder brother reflects an understanding that Jesus was the firstborn of the Father's spirit children and, since we humans are all spirit children of the Father, Jesus is our elder... Read more

Judas: Images of the Lost Disciple

People are often content to label Judas Iscariot with one word—traitor, betrayer, thief, or zealot. But his motives, ambitions, and true character have been a subject for continued scholarship, commentary, imagination, and literature. This book analyzes the historical evolution of various Judas stories and interpretations to show the complexities of Judas's character and history. Published in... Read more

All Abraham's Children: Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage

Like many members today, early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints considered themselves to be of the House of Israel. According to Armand L. Mauss, an emeritus professor of sociology from Washington State University, this identity affected the relationship that members of the Church had with other groups, primarily Native Americans, Jews, and those of African descent... Read more

Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers

Soul Searching is a very significant contribution to the sociology of religion. The book is of particular interest to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as it is the first national study that highlights LDS youth. Christian Smith and his colleagues at the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) have produced a benchmark study valuable to not only social scientists, but... Read more

Temple Theology: An Introduction

In the past two decades, Margaret Barker has managed a miracle: in a prodigious output of a dozen scholarly books and book chapters, as well as numerous articles and conference addresses, Barker, a Cambridge-educated independent scholar, Methodist lay preacher, and former president of the Society for Old Testament Study, has successfully shaken the very foundations of Old Testament and early... Read more

The Salt Lake City 14th Ward Album Quilt, 1857: Stories of the Relief Society and Their Quilt

The premise of The Salt Lake City 14th Ward Album Quilt, 1857 is both intriguing and straightforward: to recover the history of a nineteenth-century Relief Society quilt and the life stories of the women who stitched it together. The intrigue began when Carol Holindrake Nielson learned that her family would someday inherit "The Quilt," an object her husband believed could be a picnic quilt made... Read more

The Mormon Vanguard Brigade of 1847: Norton Jacob's Record

In The Mormon Vanguard Brigade of 1847, Ronald Barney and Utah State University Press have published the valuable Norton Jacob diary account of the historic 1847 trek. Because of excellent transcriptions and extensive annotations, this might well be the best published version of any of the 1847 pioneer diaries. The manuscript diary, donated to the LDS Church Archives by family members in 1949, is... Read more

Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel

While Did God Have a Wife? is a catchy title (no doubt employed to pique interest and increase sales), William Dever's latest foray into Israelite religion has more to do with its subtitle, Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel, than with God's marital status. Nevertheless, Latter-day Saints may be more interested in the answer to the question of whether the God of Israel had a wife... Read more

The Oatman Massacre: A Tale of Desert Captivity and Survival

Renderings of the massacre that took the lives of six members of the Roys Oatman family on February 18, 1851, near the confluence of the Gila and Colorado Rivers (in present-day Arizona) derive, at least in part, from Royal B. Stratton's Captivity of the Oatman Girls. Stratton's 1857 narrative accompanied Olive and Lorenzo Oatman—the two survivors—on their speaking tours, but as independent... Read more

Joseph Smith's New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts

This volume is a massive, thorough, and thoroughly engrossing look into the mind of Joseph Smith and the evolution of his translation of the Bible. Joseph Smith's "corrections" to the canonical text were not a matter of retranslating ancient manuscripts. Instead, they arose from Joseph's claims to a place in the prophetic line of authority. However readers appreciate the origin, nature, and value... Read more

The Book of Mormon: A Reader's Edition

Grant Hardy, chair of the history department at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and specialist in Chinese history, has produced for the University of Illinois Press a useful edition of the Book of Mormon. Over the years various editions of the Book of Mormon have been produced outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, most recently the 2004 Doubleday edition, which... Read more