Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the American Renaissance: An Update

Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the American Renaissance: An Update

by Robert A. Rees

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Overview

This is a follow-up to my article, "Joseph Smith and the American Renaissance," published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought in 2002. My purpose in writing that article was to consider Joseph Smith in relation to his more illustrious contemporary American authors -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman. In that article I tried to demonstrate that in comparison with these writers, Joseph Smith did not possess the literary imagination, talent, authorial maturity, education, cultural milieu, knowledge base, or sophistication necessary to produce the Book of Mormon; nor, I argued, had he possessed all of these characteristics, nor was the time in which the book was produced sufficient to compose such a lengthy, complex, and elaborate narrative. This addendum takes the comparison one step further by examining each writer's magnum opus and the background, previous writings, and preliminary drafts that preceded its publication -- then comparing them with Joseph Smith's publication of the Book of Mormon. That is, each of the major works of these writers of prose, fiction, and poetry as well as the scriptural text produced by Joseph Smith has a history -- one that allows us to trace its evolution from inception to completion.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940157772215
Publisher: Interpreter Foundation
Publication date: 02/20/2016
Series: Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture , #19
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 16
File size: 131 KB

About the Author

Robert A. Rees (born November 17, 1935) is an educator, scholar, and poet. He teaches Mormon Studies at Graduate Theological Union and the University of California, Berkeley. Previously he taught humanities at UCLA and UC Santa Cruz and was a Fulbright Professor of American Studies in Lithuania (1995-96). Rees is the author of No More Strangers and Foreigners: A Mormon-Christian Response to Homosexuality (1998), “‘In a Dark Time the Eye Begins to See’: Personal Reflections on Homosexuality among the Mormons at the Beginning of a New Millennium” (2000), “Requiem for a Gay Mormon” (2001) and, most recently with Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Latter-day Saint Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children (2012). He is the editor of Proving Contraries: A Collection of Writings In Honor of Eugene England (2005), The Reader’s Book of Mormon (2008), and Why I Stay: The Challenges of Discipleship for Contemporary Mormons (2011). Rees has served as a bishop, stake high councilor, Institute teacher, and a member of the Baltic States Mission Presidency. He is the co-founder and current vice-president of the Liahona Children’s Foundation, which addresses malnutrition among Latter-day Saint children in the developing world.

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