October 13, 2008

"Likening With Care" Series with Brant Gardner

"...for I did liken all scriptures unto us, 
that it might be for our profit and learning" 

Brant Gardner is an LDS scholar and Mesoamerican specialist who recently published Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon with Kofford Books. A pre-publication version of the commentary is still available at archive.org (though it is more outdated than the published volumes). Gardner recently spent some time with me discussing his work. Our conversations resulted in this twelve-part series on the Book of Mormon.


Part 1- Introduction to Second Witness 
Provides a brief review of LDS scholar Brant Gardner's new 6-volume work Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon.

Part 2- Putting Blood in the Veins of the Text
Gardner discusses his goals, efforts, and hopes regarding his Book of Mormon commentary.

Part 3- Gardner on Ostler's Expansion Theory
Interacting with several theories on how the Book of Mormon translation resulted in the text we have today, Gardner posits an interactive process.

Parts 4 through 8- Top Five Book of Mormon Myths 
Gardner confronts conceptual myths about the Book of Mormon. He believes some popular understanding of the book should not overrule what the text itself claims.

Part 9- All Are Alike? On Racism and the Book of Mormon 
In calling racism an "ancient norm," Gardner differentiates the meaning of "racism" in terms of our current understanding from what the ancient writers likely understood regarding a "skin of blackness."

Part 10- Method and Skepticism (and Quetzelcoatl...)
Gardner responds to criticism that a Mormon scholar's beliefs will influence the results of their findings, thus making the scholarship questionable or lacking.

Part 11- A quick discussion on "others" in the Book of Mormon 
In this post, Gardner exemplifies his approach to the text by answering questions from one who is skeptical about the possibility of "others" (non-lineal Lehites) in the Book of Mormon.

Part 12- Reading With New Eyes
Concluding post, describing how Garder attempts to draw meaning from the text in regards to how its authors understood it rather than constructing a theology back into the text from current LDS understanding.

11 comments:

Johnna said...

Thanks for posting this. I"m a big fan of Brant Gardner's work.

Jacob J said...

Thanks to both you and Brant Gardner for this series of posts, I enjoyed them.

BHodges said...

Thanks, Jacob J and johnna.

Sarah K. said...

Help! I just paid over $250 dollars for these wonderful books, but three of my volumes are starting to fall apart. The pages appear to have been cheaply glued in, even though they cost a small fortune. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to preserve these books so I can continue to enjoy them?

BHodges said...

That's odd, the volumes I've purchased have held together really well despite some rather rough handling and obsessive highlighting. Volume 4 (the largest, over 700 pages, covering Alma) is the only one that has shown any signs of excessive binding wear. In my initial review I almost mentioned what I saw as the physical quality of the books, actually.

I'll pass the word along to Brent and see if the publisher can arrange an exchange or something.

BHodges said...

Other than that, how have you liked the commentary so far?

BHodges said...

OK, if you're still out there, Sarah, all you need to do is contact the seller who can arrange for the exchange. The publisher suggests that they be returned and will be replaced. He indicated that each page is supposed to be sewn in, but certainly things happen at times.

You shouldn't have a problem returning them, depending on where you bought them (returns from Internet sources are a little more difficult than brick and mortar, just because of the mailing issues).
Let me know.

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Anonymous said...

Hello!
Could anybody help to contact Brand Gardner.
He influenced on my academic reserch of Quetzalcoatl a lot. And now so many questions appeared in my head.

Thank you. Olena But morkv@list.ru

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