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Books that have been recently published by BYU Studies.
Artifacts Speak: Revisiting Old Stories about Treasured Latter-day Saint Heirlooms
- The two Smith family homes in Palmyra-Manchester, New York
- The artifacts of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, including weapons, canes, Carthage Jail, and watches
- Eliza R. Snow’s watch, given to her by Joseph Smith
- The Nauvoo Temple bells
- The Relief Society Campanile on Temple Square
- Cannons and other artillery used in Nauvoo and Utah
- Odometers used on the pioneer trail
Martin Harris: Uncompromising Witness of the Book of Mormon
Well-known historians Susan Black and Larry Porter have written a landmark biography of Martin Harris, one of the most important figures in early Church history. Joseph Smith relied on his generosity and goodwill to publish the Book of Mormon, of which he was one of the Three Witnesses. But Latter-day Saints in the twenty-first century know relatively little about him, especially the decades he spent away from the Restoration—until now. This biography deserves a place on the bookshelves of historians and other interested Church members. Strongly recommend.
Reid L. Neilson Assistant Church Historian and Recorder The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
This deeply researched book examines the life of one of Joseph Smith’s closest associates in the Church’s early years. It tells us more about significant episodes, such as the printing of the Book of Mormon, than anyone has ever known. Most important, it helps us reassess the character of Martin Harris, a key contributor to the Restoration. Harris emerges as a man of substance and judgment, a fitting witness to the angel and the plates. The book explains how he fell away and then returned but at no time backed away from his testimony.
Richard Lyman Bushman Author, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
As one of the earliest believers in Joseph Smith’s spiritual claims, Martin Harris figured prominently in the early events of the Restoration. He observed firsthand many of the sacred scenes associated with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, assisted in its translation, was one of the book’s Three Witnesses, financed its publication, and was one of the first converts baptized into the Church of Christ. Authors Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter have produced an insightful, informative, well-documented biography of Martin Harris’s lifelong religious sojourn—a life characterized by integrity, faith, and generosity, but most of all, testimony. This is solid, down-to-earth biographical history at its best.
Alexander L. Baugh Professor, Church History and Doctrine, BYU
New Testament Commentary: Epistle to the Hebrews
This up-to-date commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews provides a unique restoration perspective on the Jewish and first-century Christian themes of Jesus Christ’s authority, priesthood, temples, and faithfulness. Draper and Rhodes make this somewhat neglected and challenging epistle much more understandable through a careful examination of the Greek text accompanied by a side-by-side KJV text and translation notes. Their analysis sections contain numerous invaluable insights gleaned from many decades of teaching. This commentary assists modern readers to gain the scripture study skill of context as Draper and Rhodes elucidate this epistle’s text from both a Semitic and Gentile historical and cultural milieu.
— Brent Schmidt, faculty, Department of Religious Education, Brigham Young University–Idaho
The commentary on Epistle to the Hebrews is fascinating! As with the other commentaries written by Richard D. Draper and Michael D. Rhodes, we have the Greek text, the translation, and the reasoning behind the translation. The historical, sociopolitical, and religious background they provide is invaluable in fully understanding the inspired (and inspiring) messages of the writer of Hebrews. I find this commentary very accessible. You don’t have to have a background in history or be a biblical scholar. You can dive in where you are at and learn at the feet of masters. I also appreciate the enhanced insights from the inclusion of Latter-day Saint scripture. There are a number of scholarly commentaries on Hebrews, but very few that are accessible to a lay person, and none with a Latter-day Saint perspective. If you are seeking a deeper understanding of Jesus Christ and His Atonement, this commentary will be invaluable.
— Eleanor Thorne, administrator with BYU Continuing Education, PhD from University of Missouri–Colombia
Draper and Rhodes have written a useful commentary to this important New Testament book. Their commentary is especially helpful for teasing out connections between the ancient writings in the New Testament and the unique contributions of the Restoration. The Epistle to the Hebrews is a book that has a lot of resonance with latter-day scripture and teachings, and Draper and Rhodes’s commentary is written with an ear to that resonance.
— Avram Shannon, assistant professor, Department of Ancient Scripture, Religious Education, Brigham Young University
New Testament Commentary: The Gospel according to Mark
- An examination of the differences in ancient texts of Mark is used to make conjectures about how the text read in its earliest versions.
- Basic cultural knowledge is supplied to help the modern reader bridge the gap to the ancient world.
- Biblical allusions in Mark’s text are explored and explained.
- Literary structures, both large and small, are considered.
- The traditional neglect of women’s stories is corrected.
No other biblical commentary directed specifically to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints eclipses the quality of Julie Smith’s accomplishment with the Gospel of Mark. It is informed, gracefully composed, accessible, and, most importantly, trustworthy. It opens a range of possible interpretations of key and challenging passages but is not guilty of imposing extraneous meaning on the text. The volume’s preoccupation—“What would this story have meant to Mark’s earliest audiences?”—is judiciously chosen and frees Smith from distractions and diverse thickets. A superb example of what light may emerge from scripture in the company of a competent, faithful, and honest guide.
— Philip L. Barlow, Leonard Arrington Professor of Mormon History & Culture, Utah State University
Julie Smith’s new commentary on the Gospel of Mark represents an important addition to Latter-day Saint scholarship on the New Testament. Mark is a book that has been somewhat neglected by Latter-day Saints, and Smith’s commentary goes a long way towards correcting that neglect. With its numerous explanatory notes, this commentary takes the Gospel of Mark seriously, both as scripture and as a witness of the mission of Jesus. Where this commentary is especially welcome is in Smith’s thoughtful and thought-provoking treatment of women’s issues in the Gospel and in the scriptures generally.
— Avram R. Shannon, Assistant Professor of Ancient Scripture, Brigham Young University
Among Latter-day Saints, the Gospel of Mark has often been overshadowed by the other Gospels. This volume aims to restore Mark’s distinct voice so that latter-day audiences can better understand and appreciate his unique testimony of Jesus Christ. By focusing on issues of translation, cultural knowledge, biblical allusions, literary interpretation, and the significance of women’s stories and concerns, this volume impressively narrows the gap between the expectations of modern readers and Mark’s ancient, yet vibrant, testimony of Jesus.
— Jacob Rennaker, John A. Widtsoe Fellow of Latter-day Saint Scholarship and Life, Chapman University
Yet to Be Revealed: Open Questions in Latter-day Saint Theology
- What is the nature of God’s progress?
- Where did Book of Mormon events take place?
- What is women’s relationship to priesthood?
- Is God subject to or the creator of eternal law?
- Will things get better or worse before the Second Coming?
- Was Jesus married?
- Is the Song of Solomon scripture?
- How was the Book of Mormon translated?
“We as Latter-day Saints have too often felt sure about things the prophets haven’t actually decided, and about things God seems to have left open for us to reflect on humbly. This breathtakingly honest collection of essays does excellent work to make clear just how much we in fact don’t know. That there’s so much to learn is wonderful news, however. We’ll have to bring all of our minds, and not just all of our hearts, to the task of being earnest disciples.”
—Joseph Spencer, author of 1st Nephi: A Brief Theological Introduction
“This much-needed engagement with . . . interesting theological questions is long overdue.”
—Blake T. Ostler, Esq., author of the four-volume Exploring Mormon Thought book series on Latter-day Saint theology