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By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion (Paperback)
  • By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion (Paperback)

By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion (Paperback)

Paperback 336 Pages / Published: 11/09/2003
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With over 100 million copies in print, the Book of Mormon has spawned a vast religious movement, but it remains little discussed outside Mormon circles. Now Terry L. Givens offers a full-length treatment of this influential work, illuminating the varied meanings and tempestuous impact of this uniquely American scripture. Givens examines the text's role as a divine testament of the Last Days and as a sacred sign of Joseph Smith's status as a modern-day prophet. He assesses its claim to be a history of the pre-Columbian peopling of the Western Hemisphere, and later explores how the Book has been defined as a cultural product-the imaginative ravings of a rustic religion-maker. Givens further investigates its status as a new American Bible or Fifth Gospel, one that displaces, supports, or, in some views, perverts the canonical Word of God. Finally, Givens highlights the Book's role as the engine behind what may become the next world religion. The most wide-ranging study on the subject outside Mormon presses, By the Hand of Mormon will fascinate anyone curious about a religious people who, despite their numbers, remain strangers in our midst.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780195168884
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 484 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 22 mm

This outstanding book investigates the history and theology of the Book of Mormon, which Givens calls 'perhaps the most religiously influential, hotly contested, and, at least in the secular press, intellectually underinvestigated book in America.' Givens persuasively demonstrates how the Book of Mormon was trumpeted by early Latter-Day Saints more for the fact of its existence * which to them indicated an imminent apocalypse *
Givens is fair-minded, sympathetic, and knows his Mormon history, as well as the history of visionaries.... Givens's surest ground is in folding Joseph Smith in with the religious mystics who claimed immediate and intimate knowledge of the supernatural. The importance of his book lies in its scholarly, unbiased, and disinterested examination of a sacred text. * Harpers *
A closely written, thoughtful (if polemical) book by a devoted scholar. It is certainly provocative reading, whether you happen to be a Mormon or not. * Benson Bobrick, New York Times Book Review *
By the Hand of Mormon, Terryl L. Givens's study of the Book of Mormon, is vastly informative, particularly to the general reader who seeks for insight into this extraordinary work. There are enigmatic splendors in the Book of Mormon, whether it was revealed to Joseph Smith or whether it emerged from his indubitable religious genius. * Harold Bloom, author of The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation *
This is an exceptional study. Terryl Givens has written an important work that increases our understanding of both the Book of Mormon and of Mormonism generally. He demonstrates how a single literary work gave rise to an enduring community, a theology, a religion, and a culture, and helps to explain not only the book's history but also the persisting success of Mormonism as an enduring belief system and worshipping community. By the Hand of Mormon is an achievement of real distinction. * Jan Shipps, author of Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years Among the Mormons and Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition *
The publication of By the Hand of Mormon represents a breakthrough in the history of Mormon scholarship. This is a multifaceted book that sheds light on numerous aspects of Latter-day Saint belief and practice as well as upon the Book of Mormon itself. Latter-day Saints should purchase [this book] for themselves and for others because it is a profound book from which they and others will learn much. * Daniel C. Patterson, Professor of Islamis Studies, Bringham Young University *
A unique study of the Book of Mormon. * Edward S. Cutler, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Bringham Young University *
Until now, the Book of Mormon has not been on anyone's list of canonical literary works, but it may be added soon as Mormonism assumes the dimensions of a budding world religion. Thus far no one has been able to situate this much-contested work in our intellectual history. Givens does, and offers a striking appraisal of just what the Book of Mormon means to our culture. * Richard Lyman Bushman, Gouverneur Morris Professor of History Emeritus, Columbia University, and co-author of Mormons in America *

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