"I want to say to you, read the book, the Pearl of Great Price, and read the Book of Abraham. The Pearl of Great Price I hold to be one of the most intelligent, one of the most religious books that the world has ever had; but more than that, to me the Pearl of Great Price is true in its name. It contains an ideal of life that is higher and grander and more glorious than I think is found in the pages of any other book unless it be the Holy Bible. It behooves us to read these things, understand them: and I thank God when they are attacked, because it brings to me, after a study and thought, back to the fact that what God has given He has given, and He has nothing to retract." - Levi Edgar Young, Conference Report (April 1913), 74

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Commentary on the Book of Abraham Bibliography

This Book of Abraham Bibliography primarily references articles and books that are currently under copyright protection and links to some limited online material. Publications in the public domain are posted on this site separately as documents. This bibliographic collection is intentionally selective because there is a considerable volume of material online that discusses the Book of Abraham, and an exhaustive compilation would be unnecessarily redundant. Much of the material online provides no meaningful contribution to the discussion and simply repeats the discussions and assertions already posited in the articles that are included in this collection. Accordingly, while this collection is subjective, I believe it fairly represents meaningful publications (online or otherwise) regarding the Book of Abraham.  There are also numerous references to Abraham and teachings from the Book of Abraham from General Conferences over the last 180+ years, which would require an entirely separate bibliography. I hope to accomplish this some day; in the meantime, Apostolic and other General Authority teachings on, or from, the Book of Abraham will be discussed separately in individual posts.

Inevitably I expect that at least two questions will result from referencing certain information in the bibliography. First, fellow Latter-day Saints may ask why I am including literature that is decidedly anti-Mormon; and second, critics may inquire as to why I have not included information contained on their sites, or other sites critical of the Book of Abraham. In order to preempt these questions, I will respond to both.

In response to the first question, I should reiterate my purpose, as stated in the Introduction. The Book of Abraham is a true book of scripture. It is not the purpose of this site to test the truthfulness of that claim. The truthfulness of the Book of Abraham, as well as any other book of scripture, can only be ascertained privately by revelation from the Lord. The purpose of this site is to study the Book of Abraham as a religious text, as well as the book's provenance, exegetical commentaries, historicity, and other contextual studies. Since there is much debate regarding the Book of Abraham, particularly its translation and historicity, documenting the related apologetic discussions includes knowing and understanding the critical arguments (D&C 123, especially vs. 4-6). Additionally, as the Spirit has, does, and will testify that the book is inspired, we are obligated to seek further knowledge in relation to this book of scripture. It is not justified for us to dismiss all critic's arguments simply because they have a prejudice against the scriptures and against Joseph Smith; rather, let us dismiss their prejudice and evaluate the merits of any meaningful contributions. By so doing, we may better understand the strength of our own position, and reassess any weaknesses in our assumptions regarding the Book of Abraham. Different perspectives, based on the fruit of other's research and expertise, may shed light on certain issues that could augment our understanding of this sacred text. 

In response to the second question, I should reiterate what I have stated above. The shear volume of Book of Abraham information on the web is far too much to keep up with or attempt to document. However, and more significantly, the large majority of websites critiquing the Book of Abraham, in my experience, do not provide substantive contributions that are unique to the study of the subject.  Most of these sites simply repeat the same arguments made by others, whose publications are included in the bibliography. Some of these sites purposefully distort the arguments in order to present Joseph Smith in a negative light. They do so by manipulating their research, or other's research, in presenting their position on the Book of Abraham and Joseph Smith to achieve a predetermined outcome. In other words, they use "cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Ephesians 4:14).  Lastly, this bibliography primarily focuses on published works, with few exceptions. 

If my bibliography is deficient because it does not include meaningful research, please let me know and upon reviewing the material I will consider updating the bibliography. 

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things..." (John 14:26) - "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:21)

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