Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, formerly the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, has recently released two new books that are a must have for members of the Church in general and Latter-day Saint apologists in particular. They are Eloquent Witness: Nibley on Himself, Others, and the Temple and The Book of Mormon and DNA Research. The former is a new volume (#17) in the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley and the latter is a compilation of articles and essays written by faithful Latter-day Saint scholars on the topic of the recent DNA controversy surrounding the historicity of the Book of Mormon. Considering that I have read both, I will give a quick synopsis of them for the reader here.

Eloquent Witness: Nibley on Himself, Others, and the Temple

This new volume in the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley is a compilation of some of the late Dr. Nibley's letters, journals, interviews and reviews on, as the title says, himself, others and the Temple. Also included, (at last!), is a transcript of the documentary Faith of an Observer and some of Nibley's materials that are otherwise difficult to find. For example, also included are personal letters Nibley sent to friends, or foes, and an unpublished autobiography.

This is a valuable addition to anyone's library, as it offers a glimpse into Nibley's personal life and character. It allows those who have read his other works to get a peek into the man behind the books.

The Book of Mormon and DNA Research

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the role of DNA testing and the Book of Mormon. Some critics claim that the absence of discernible Near Eastern DNA in Native American populations disproves the Book of Mormon's claims of authenticity and historicity. These claims and criticisms, however, have been countered by Latter-day Saint scholars and apologists almost as soon as the criticisms hit print.

This new book, edited by Daniel C. Peterson, is a collection of some of the cream of the crop of the Mormon response to the "DNA question". It is essentially a collection of previous articles and essays written in the FARMS Review and the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. These articles individually may be difficult to come by, as it would require searching through the pages of the FARMS Review and the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. So this new volume offers a place wherein one can find these articles easily and in a reader friendly format. This book is also a good one to give to perhaps friends or family struggling with the issue of DNA and the Book of Mormon as it brings together the current Mormon scholarship on the issue into one volume. Thus, you can skip having to laboriously search the website of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for these articles individually.

In short, these two new books are a must have and should be seen as a welcomed addition to one's personal library.

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