The Institute’s Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies began sponsoring a biennial (now annual) lecture in 2009. The first lecture, “Joseph Smith’s American Bible: Radicalizing the Familiar,” delivered by Terryl L. Givens, is now available on the Institute’s YouTube channel.
Givens is a professor of literature and religion, the current occupant of the James Bostwick Chair of English at the University of Richmond. In this lecture, Givens explored four themes which permeate the Book of Mormon: revelation, Christology, Zion, and scripture. These themes also provided the focus for Givens’s The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2009).
A transcript of Givens’s 2009 Laura F. Willes Book of Mormon Lecture was previously published in the Journal of Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 18:2 (2009): 4-17, also available here.
“[I]n its own position as a third testament, [the Book of Mormon’s] real burden was to provide a new and compelling genealogy, not of Christ back to Abraham, or of the human family back to Adam. It attested to its own provenance, in a chain of authenticity traceable from God’s first command to Nephi, through a thousand years of providential history, to a hillside in upstate New York, when a young Joseph Smith resurrected the record from its stone tomb. …[I]t functions not just as witness, but as tangible embodiment, of God’s living word, manifest in the continuing production of scripture through prophets who still walk the earth.” —Terryl L. Givens