a brief theological introduction

“What could I have done more for my vineyard?”

In one of the Book of Mormon’s most magisterial passages, the lord of a vineyard looks over his beloved olive trees with great sorrow and strives to redeem them. This allegory represents Jesus Christ’s labor to save not only individual souls but an entire world. Perhaps more than any other Book of Mormon prophet, Jacob manifests the same divine anxiety, having been born in a “wild wilderness” and inheriting the task of uniting a divided people.

In this brief theological introduction, Deidre Nicole Green presents Jacob as a vulnerable and empathic religious leader deeply concerned about social justice. As a teacher consecrated by his brother Nephi, Jacob insists on continuity between religious and social life. His personal experiences of suffering, his compassion for those in society’s margins, and his concern for equality are inseparable from his testimony of Jesus Christ.

Because of Christ, Jacob lovingly and mournfully seeks to nurture a faithful and just community, even against all odds of success.


"This book sent my mind and heart whirring, striving to integrate these insights into my daily life. If that’s not enough of a recommendation, I don’t know what is."

"Intriguing new readings of otherwise familiar Book of Mormon passages."

Stephen O. Smoot


"Amazing. An intimate reading of Jacob’s teachings about love for God, community, and for each other."

About the Author

Deidre Nicole Green

Deidre Nicole Green is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. She earned a PhD in Religion from Claremont Graduate University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Brigham Young University. A specialist on Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, Green is the author of the book Works of Love in a World of Violence (Mohr Siebeck, 2016); other publications have appeared in the Journal of Religion, Hypatia, and Element: A Journal of Mormon Philosophy and Theology.

Table of Contents

  • Series Introduction
  • Introduction
  • Who Is Jacob?
  • Suffering With Christ
  • Jacob’s Social View of the Sacred
  • The Temple Sermon
  • The Love of God and the Allegory of the Olive Tree
  • Jacob's Concluding Thoughts
  • Conclusion
  • Backmatter

  • Editions of the Book of Mormon
  • Index
  • Colophon
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Publication Information

  • Subject: Book of Mormon
  • Publication Month: April
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Language: English,
  • ISBN 13: 978-0-8425-0011-1
  • Page Count: 148
  • Price: $ 9.95
  • Imprint: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

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The views expressed here and in Maxwell Institute publications are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118)