Mormon Inquiry

And on sale at a bookstore near you, if you live in Utah, or at Amazon, if you don’t. Keepapitchinin provides excellent commentary. The LDS Newsroom has posted an article giving additional details. It starts out:

The inaugural volume of the much-anticipated Joseph Smith Papers, released today, brings to light a project that has been under way for many years. This landmark publishing venture begins with Joseph Smith’s personal journal entries, covering the years 1832 to 1839.

Interestingly, the series is being published by the Church, under the “Church Historian’s Press” label, with the copyright held by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., the Church’s intellectual property arm. It makes sense the Church wants to retain rights and control over the publication of these volumes. Official sponsorship also pretty much guarantees the resources needed to complete this massive project will continue.

I will be very interested in a detailed review of the first volume that compares what is in the Papers series with what has already been published, particularly in: (1) Dean C. Jessee’s Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Deseret Book and BYU Press, rev. ed. 2002); (2) Dean C. Jessee’s 2-volume Papers of Joseph Smith (Deseret Book, 1989); and (3) Dan Vogel’s 5-volume Early Mormon Documents (Signature, 1996-2003). My understanding from statements made by some of the scholars working on the project is that most of the documents coming out in the various volumes of the Papers series have been published previously, although some of the legal documents that will come out in later volumes are new. It would be nice if a reviewer identifies those documents and volumes in the series that either release better transcripts of previously published documents or that release new and previously unavailable documents. In any case, this is truly a landmark publishing event that will be a marvelous resource for the next generation of scholars working in Mormon Studies.

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