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"Hardy (history & religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina, Asheville) here argues that the book of Mormon has not received, but deserves, treatment as a literary document on its own terms and that in order to do so the questions of historicity need to be bracketed. While some may question the latter approach, Hardy does provide a thorough literary analysis of the text, especially focusing on its narrative structure, the style of its main writers, and the characterizations of its principle actors. The focus, therefore, is on the narrators. Hardy begins with general observations about the book that he thinks everyone could agree on, a good starting point for any discussion of the book of Mormon. VERDICT General readers might be stymied by some of the literary theory, but clearly academics will appreciate the seriousness with which Hardy goes about the task of examining a document whose influence is often overlooked in cultural and literary history."—Library Journal
"Hardy teases out the unique voice of each narrator, showing particular nuance as a student of character. He has great skill in reading between the lines-in the Book of Mormon, what is implied is often more intriguing than what is made explicit, and the editorial omissions of a redactor like Mormon can be revealing gaps. In Hardy's hands, the Book of Mormon begins to come alive as a kind of Shakespearean tragedy as Hardy nimbly employs various tools of literary criticism. It is past time for a study like this, which eschews tiresome debates about the Book of Mormon's historical authenticity in favor of a careful, lucid exploration of the book's construction, themes, and characters. Hardy's writing is clear, sometimes even piercing. This will be a classic work in the field of Mormon studies for decades to come."—Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"The Book of Mormon is a strange work, whether read as fiction, sacred history, or revealed mythos. As the most widely distributed religious book in America after the Bible, it has inspired religious faith, derision, and often-superficial treatment by analysts put off by its ponderous style, large claims, and deceptively complex structure. On this last point, Grant Hardy's accomplishment has obliterated excuses: There now exists a key to understanding the Mormon scripture¹s narrative architecture."
—Philip Barlow, author of Mormons and the Bible: the Place of the Latter-day Saints in American Religion
"In a subtly intriguing analysis Hardy challenges devotional predilection, critical antagonism, and assumed irrelevance and invites all to discern an internal rationale to the Book of Mormon as a core text of what is now an expanding religious tradition."
—Douglas J. Davies, Professor in the Study of Religion, Durham University
"Grant Hardy offers an ingenious literary reading of the Book of Mormon. He enters into the minds of the book's three major historians, Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni, to show how differently they thought, as evidenced in the rich complexity of the text. Every serious student of the Book of Mormon will want to read this landmark study."
—Richard Bushman, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies, Claremont Graduate University
1. Getting Started, or Why Bother?
Section I: Nephi
2. Sons and Brothers: Characterization
3. Prophets of Old: Scriptural Interpretation
Section II: Mormon
4. Mormon's Dilemma: Competing Agendas
5. Other Voices: Embedded Documents
6. Providential Recurrence: Parallel Narratives
7. The Day of the Lord's Coming: Prophecy and Fulfilment
Section III: Moroni
8. Weakness in Writing: A Sense of Audience
9. Strategies of Conclusion: Allusion
Posted September 4, 2013
No text was provided for this review.
Posted June 28, 2011
No text was provided for this review.