Volume 25 of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies observes two significant milestones in Book of Mormon studies. First, we celebrate the Journal‘s own twenty-fifth anniversary with a retrospective that reviews past and present editorships. We also included a “prospective,” looking ahead to the future of the Journal and, more generally, the field of Book of Mormon studies.
The second milestone we celebrate in volume 25 is the seminal work of Grant Hardy. It has been thirteen years since the appearance of Hardy’s The Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Edition (University of Illinois Press, 2003) and six years since the publication of his Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide (Oxford University Press, 2010). In many ways, Hardy’s work has both benefited from and signaled a turning point in Book of Mormon studies. As editors of the Journal we see his work as crucially transitional, bringing the scripture increasingly to the attention of the broader academy. In marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Journal, Hardy’s work serves to help us take stock of what has been done and what yet remains to be done.
Our retrospective and prospective are followed by a series of contributions focused on Hardy’s work from LDS and non-LDS vantage points by scholars like John Christopher Thomas, Jana Riess, and Daniel C. Peterson. We asked them to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Understanding the Book of Mormon, to identify areas where we still need to do more work, and to begin to build upon his work. Hardy himself contributes to the volume with a Q&A and a concluding response essay to the several discussants. Volume 25 is a stimulating give-and-take conversation.
We hope this volume of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies will encourage more interest and excitement in continuing to explore the richness of the Book of Mormon. May the next twenty-five years be even more productive for the Book of Mormon than the last twenty-five!
[Read a complimentary article from volume 25 HERE.]