ISBN : 9780190274375
Joseph Smith, founding prophet and martyr of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, personally wrote, dictated, or commissioned thousands of documents. Among these are several highly significant sources that scholars have used over and over again in their attempts to reconstruct the founding era of Mormonism, usually by focusing solely on content, without a deep appreciation for how and why a document was produced. This book offers case studies of the sources most often used by historians of the early Mormon experience. Each chapter takes a particular document as its primary subject, considering the production of a document as an historical event in itself, with its own background, purpose, circumstances, and consequences. The documents are examined not merely as sources of information but as artifacts that reflect aspects of the general culture and particular circumstances in which they were created. This book will help historians working in the founding era of Mormonism gain a more solid grounding in the period's documentary record by supplying important information on major primary sources.
Foreword; Harry S. Stout; Contributors; Chapter 1; Introduction; Mark Ashurst-McGee, Robin Scott Jensen, and Sharalyn D. Howcroft; Chapter 2; The Gold Plates as Foundational Text; Richard Lyman Bushman; Chapter 3; Textual Criticism and the Book of Mormon; Grant Hardy; Chapter 4; Intertextuality and the Purpose of Joseph Smith's New Translation of the Bible; Thomas A. Wayment; Chapter 5; The Dictation, Compilation, and Canonization of Joseph Smith's Revelations; Grant Underwood; Chapter 6; Joseph Smith's Missouri Prison Letters and the Mormon Textual Community; David W. Grua; Chapter 7; The Textual Culture of the Nauvoo Female Relief Society Leadership and Minute Book; Jennifer Reeder; Chapter 8; Joseph Smith's Preaching and the Early Mormon Documentary Record; William V. Smith; Chapter 9; Joseph Smith's Nauvoo Journals; Alex D. Smith and Andrew H. Hedges; Chapter 10; The Early Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, 1835-1839; Laurel Thatcher Ulrich; Chapter 11; A Textual and Archival Reexamination of Lucy Mack Smith's History; Sharalyn D. Howcroft; Chapter 12; The Image as Text and Context in Early Mormon History; Jeffrey G. Cannon; Chapter 13; Joseph Smith and the Conspicuous Absence of Early Mormon Documentation; Ronald O. Barney