Insights: An Ancient Window
The Newsletter of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies
New Book Explores the Connections between Beauty and Truth in the Book of Mormon
"My love of great literature and my testimony of the saving principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ converge in seeing the Book of Mormon as sacred literature. To take a literary approach enhanced by spiritual sensitivity is to engage our full capacities in understanding and feeling. It is to delight in how something is said in a way that reveals its essence. This approach is appropriate and helpful in respect to the Book of Mormon. In this work of literature, God-directed prophets speak to us in the most powerful and effective ways possible by interconnecting truth, goodness, and beauty."
Feasting on the Word: The Literary Testimony of the Book of Mormon is an exploration of this belief on the part of its author, Richard D. Rust, professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Drawing on his academic training and research, Rust examines the use of narrative, poetry, sermons, letters, and autobiography in the Book of Mormon. He looks at how Book of Mormon authors and editors use imagery, typology, epic elements, and other literary forms to convey their messages.
But throughout, his focus is on the marriage of form and content, the union of beauty and truth. His foremost task is to help his readers see that the connection between beauty (the richness of its literary elements that make it so pleasurable to read) and truth (the plain and precious doctrinal content) makes the book both spiritually and artistically fulfilling.
This book delights and inspires. Every chapter makes the reader want to go back to the Book of Mormon to explore further the forms and ideas that Rust illustrates.
Developed for several years with the help of FARMS, the book was copublished by FARMS and Deseret Book and is available using the enclosed order form.
Apostle Reflects on Christ in the Book of Mormon
Anyone who loves the Book of Mormon will find great pleasure and insight in reading Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s new book, Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon. Elder Holland documents why the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ, since He is the principal and commanding figure throughout the book, from first chapter to last.
As Elder Holland explains, "the Book of Mormon is the sacred expression of Christ’s full and final covenant with mankind. It is a new covenant, a new testament from the New World to the entire world. More than any other book it has taught me to love the Lord Jesus Christ and to consider the full wonder and grandeur, the eternally resonating power of the atoning sacrifice he made for us."
This book is marvelously effective. It takes several different approaches to achieve its aims. It discusses in detail the testimonies of several prophets recorded in the Book of Mormon. It explores several different types and shadows in the Book of Mormon, images and ideas that are intended to turn our thoughts to Christ and prepare us to receive him.
Then it gives direct expositions of doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon concerning the Savior and his mission. These are followed by a tender description of Christ’s physical presence in the New World and its aftermath. Finally, Elder Holland shares his personal testimony of the Savior and of the role the Book of Mormon has played in that testimony.
The message is universal, but the presentation is very personal.
You don't want to miss this book.
Recent Archaeological Discoveries Support Bible
The number of archaeological excavations in Israel has increased dramatically over the last two decades. The January/February 1997 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) lists 20 sites currently being excavated. As more sites are studied, more evidence for the historical authenticity of the Bible is uncovered. Here are some of the recent finds:
Piece by piece, such finds fill out our picture of the ancient world of the Bible and authenticate many of the details presented in that sacred book of scripture. Watch for more details in future FARMS Updates as research continues.
Based on research by John A. Tvedtnes.
Volunteer Public Communications Director Joins FARMS Board of Trustees
Daniel Oswald has been elected a member of the Foundation's Board of Trustees. Since 1989, he has served FARMS as a volunteer, as a member of the development committee and more recently as Director of Public Communications.
Oswald is a native of Zurich, Switzerland, where he completed his undergraduate work at the University of Zurich. He received his Juris Doctorate and his Master of Business Administration from BYU. He served a mission in England and Wales. He is married to Tamara Bischoff and they are the parents of six children.
Professionally, Oswald has worked for international strategy consulting firms in London and Zurich. He has also worked with law firms in New York and Salt Lake City.
He is cofounder and president of MultiLing International, a leading translation and localization technology and services company headquartered in Provo.
Volunteers Make a Difference
We wish to express sincere thanks to the many FARMS volunteers, some who travel considerable distances each week, who are donating their time to make the Masada and Dead Sea Scroll exhibits a success at BYU.
Thanks are also due to Infobases, Inc., who have donated space on their internet server for the FARMS Online service.
These and many other FARMS projects depend on the unselfishness of many volunteers. If you are in a position to donate your time, talents, or resources and would like to discuss opportunities to be a FARMS volunteer, call Brent Hall at the FARMS office.
6 June: John W. Welch will give a FARMS-sponsored introductory lecture on the Masada and Dead Sea Scrolls exhibits; after your tour he will answer questions and discuss the exhibits. 7:00 p.m., meet at the BYU Museum of Art. Call the FARMS office for tickets.
7 June: Symposium on Ancient Scriptures in the Restoration, sponsored by FARMS and the BYU Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History. Free and open to the public. 10:00 a.m., JSB Auditorium, BYU. Special hotel rates available for out-of-town visitors: call the FARMS office.
Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Authenticity. Edited by Noel B. Reynolds. These essays bring readers up to date on authorship research, surveying the latest evidence that supports the claim of the Book of Mormon to be ancient scripture. Available in July.
LDS Perspectives on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Edited by Donald W. Parry and Dana M. Pike. General essays on the history and significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and essays focused on various specific aspects of the scrolls from the perspective of LDS scholarship. Available in July.
Ancient Scrolls Come to BYU. Edited by M. Gerald Bradford. This full-color booklet features photographs, descriptions, and essays on the significance and meaning of the scrolls contained in the Masada and Dead Sea Scroll exhibits at BYU. Short essays are also provided on the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the story of how nine original scrolls and four facsimiles were obtained for these exhibits. Available in July.
Welch Introduces FARMS Visitors to Masada and Scrolls Exhibits
On Friday, 6 June, the night before the FARMS-sponsored conference on "Ancient Scriptures and the Restoration," John W. Welch will offer an introductory lecture for the Masada and Dead Sea Scrolls exhibits at BYU and then will be available after your tour to answer questions and discuss the exhibits. Welch is the codirector of the exhibits and has been involved for the last three years in the process of bringing these artifacts to BYU.
The lecture, at 7:00 p.m. at the Museum of Art at BYU, is free and tickets to the exhibits are available for $4 (a $2 discount)—and must be reserved in advance through the FARMS office. The exhibits offer an exceptional opportunity to see nine original scrolls, plus four high-quality replicas, and the chance to learn more about the courageous people of Masada and Qumran.
Masterful Scholarly Tool Is Updated and Improved
The definitive bibliography in the field of transoceanic crossings, John L. Sorenson's and Martin H. Raish's Pre-Columbian Contact with the Americas across the Oceans: An Annotated Bibliography, has been revised, expanded, and made more useful for researchers. More than 40% of the 5000 entries are new in this second edition. A new detailed index of 1400 terms makes the bibliography even easier to use.
Works pro and con from a dozen languages and from such diverse fields as archaeology, anthropology, art history, ethnobotany, ethnozoology, folklore, geography, linguistics, history, and nautical history are listed, annotated, and cross-referenced. Each two-volume set is impressively hardbound with a long-lasting sewn binding and contains over 1200 pages of information. Electronic copies are available for no additional charge with the purchase of the two-volume set. Reference Quarterly calls this research tool an "outstanding reference work. . . . The most complete and current bibliography available." The Professional Geographer agrees, calling it "the greatest boon ever to those fields of the social sciences that deal with the history of the movement of civilization before 1500."