Reading Nephi Reading Isaiah

2 Nephi 26–27

Joseph M. Spencer Jenny Webb

Nephi’s adoration of the words of Isaiah has puzzled many readers of the Book of Mormon. What does Nephi’s reading and repurposing of the biblical prophet suggest about the nature of prophecy and scripture study? Six scholars of the Mormon Theology Seminar address these and other questions in Reading Nephi Reading Isaiah. By shedding new light on this particular scriptural text, these essays provide exemplary models for improved scripture study.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. My only regret is that I was unable to have the authors present so that I could discuss their ideas—even challenge them in some cases—further...For any fan of Mormon theology this series is a must.


In these conference proceedings stands the hope of a new kind of Mormon theology, one that brings women and men, academics and independents, philosophers and students of literature into the conversation about the meanings of faith and scripture. These essays are united by their firm commitment to the power of scripture and the possibility that holy writ may be rather more than it first appears. Mormon theologians and literary theorists should welcome the voices contained in this volume into discussions about the complex relationships created between readers and the sacred penmen, between the living and the dead.

Samuel M. Brown

About the Editor

Joseph M. Spencer

Joseph M. Spencer earned a PhD in philosophy at the University of New Mexico and has published extensively on Latter-day Saint scripture and theology in BYU Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Philosophy and Scripture, and the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies where he serves as associate editor. Spencer is co-editor of the book series Groundwork: Studies in Theory and Scripture. His other books include Reading Nephi Reading Isaiah and For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Summary Report
  • Nephi, Isaiah, and Europe
  • How Nephi Shapes His Readers’ Perceptions of Isaiah
  • Slumbering Voices: Death and Textuality in 2 Nephi
  • Seals, Symbols, and Sacred Texts: Sealing and the Book of Mormon
  • On the Moral Risks of Reading Scripture
  • Works of Darkness: Secret Combinations and Covenant Displacement in the Book of Mormon
  • Appendix 1: Nephi’s Text and Its Sources
  • Appendix 2: Isaiah Appropriated
  • Appendix 3: Isaiah Edited
  • Appendix 4: Cross-References
  • Appendix 5: Further Reading
  • Contributors
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Publication Information

  • Publication Date: March 2016
  • ISBN 13: 978-0-8425-2866-5
  • Page Count: 152
  • Illustration(s):
  • Binding: paperback, epub, html
  • Price: $ 15.95
  • 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.

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