This online project is finally materializing with a conference on April 15th in the basement auditorium of the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU. It is, of course, part of the Mormon Theology Seminar (see here, and is being co-hosted by the Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding (a.k.a., Jim F.). This notice is for those who may have been reading the discussions here and would like to attend the conference.

The schedule:

9 a.m. – Jenny Webb, “Slumbering Voices: Death and Textuality in Second Nephi”
10 a.m. – George Handley, “On the Moral Challenges of Reading Scripture”
11 a.m. – Kim Matheson, “Works of Darkness: Secret Combinations and Covenant Displacement in the Book of Mormon”
12 p.m. – break for lunch
1 p.m. – Joseph M. Spencer, “Nephi, Isaiah, and Europe”
2 p.m. – Julie Frederick, “Seals, Symbols, and Sacred Texts: Sealing in the Book of Mormon”
3 p.m. – Heather and Grant Hardy, “How Nephi Shapes His Readers’ Perceptions of Isaiah”
4 p.m. – Sam Brown, Respondent

Any questions about the conference can be posted here. Feel free to pass this information along to anyone else. If you would like a file of the official poster, simply put a note here, and we’ll arrange that.


We thought it might be useful, particularly in light of the last several posts, to have another open thread at the end of the seminar. Our hope is that this thread will serve as a space wherein we can record ideas and reflections on the nature of these chapters as a whole, and also their relationship with chapters 25–30. Additionally, as we work on our papers, further questions and thoughts may arise that would be beneficial for the group to consider as a whole. This space will also function then as a “sounding board” as we try to draw together the various (and numerous!) strands of the seminar. Onward!

2 Nephi 27:27-35

Thanks for letting us take the final posting, though to be honest, we only volunteered because we thought this would be an easy week. How much is there is say about ten verses of direct quotation? But perhaps we were wrong. It may be a bit like the Borges story of Pierre Menard (a fiction that George knows well). Nephi comes up with words that are virtually identical to Isaiah’s (at least in the KJV), but because he has placed them in a very different context, the meaning has been transformed. Continue Reading »

2 Ne. 27:20-26

It seems to us that there are two major components to trying to make sense of 2 Ne. 27:20-26 (or perhaps any other passage from the Book of Mormon): understanding the basic contours of the argument, and then observing how it connects with contextual material. So we’ll take these one at a time. Continue Reading »


Since last time I forgot to save space for a summary, I’m doing it now so that I can’t forget this time.

2 Nephi 27:13-19

2 Ne 27 13-19

I’ll start with outlining the specific fulfillment of this prophecy through Martin Harris and Charles Anthon.  (The specificity of the prophecy, I think, requires an acknowledgment of the historical counterpart.  But since we are all quite familiar with it, I want to focus more on other things in the text.) Continue Reading »

As I said in the original post, I want to take up this week’s summary by sorting out what we’ve done in terms of the four key questions we’re trying to ask. One by one, then. Continue Reading »

2 Nephi 27:6-12

3 Nephi 27: 6-12

Here goes an attempt at reading these verses. You knew, didn’t you, that I wouldn’t be able to resist speculation? As such, I know this needs more thought and fine tuning, and perhaps more explanation about some of my own assumptions. But I am responding as closely as I can to the text itself and the clues it provides. I believe that what distinguishes a good misreading from a bad one, among other things, is that it tries to respond to the textual clues about reading that the text itself provides. We can consider such clues the metatext of the text. And Nephi provides a great many such clues. That seems to be the essence of what we can learn from Nephi’s use of Isaiah—it hints at what it means to read the Book of Mormon itself and perhaps how to do so. Continue Reading »

2 Nephi 26:32-27:5

The discussion so far has yielded the following structure for the second half or so (beginning with verse 20) of 2 Nephi 26 (plus 2 Nephi 27:1): Continue Reading »

This could be a positively terrible approach to summarizing a discussion, but I don’t feel quite comfortable making “conclusions” based on a few comments. So I’m going to post a condensed list of some discussion points for future reference. If anyone finds this approach particularly offensive, I’d be more than happy to make use of the nifty little “edit” option! Continue Reading »