BYU Scholars Share Research
The Joseph Smith Translation
On 19 September 2001 Kent P. Jackson of the Department of Ancient Scripture at BYU reported on his research on the original Joseph Smith Translation manuscripts in a presentation titled "When Was the Joseph Smith Translation Completed?" He discussed the evidence for dating the Prophet's work on his "New Translation" of the Bible. Some dates were written by scribes on the original manuscripts, but other dates must be reconstructed on the basis of external evidence. The Prophet dictated the text to scribes and then went through parts of it later to make additional corrections. Most of those subsequent corrections are in the hand of scribe Sidney Rigdon, and some are in the hand of Frederick G. Williams. Only 10 small corrections were written by Joseph Smith himself. The evidence suggests strongly that aside from later capitalization, punctuation insertions, and verse-number insertions, all of the Prophet's work on the New Translation was completed by the summer or fall of 1833.
St. Catherine's Monastery
On 3 October 2001 John W. Welch, a BYU law professor and member of the Institute board, narrated a slide presentation of his visit to St. Catherine's Monastery, a 1400-year-old Greek Orthodox sanctum located in the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula. Welch noted the profound silence and austere geography of the remote wilderness area, the history and layout of the monastery, and the work of Father Justin (one of 15 monks there), who is digitally imaging early Christian manuscripts from the monastery's library, which contains over 7,000 handwritten texts. Welch also noted the monastery's vibrant, centuries-old iconography, which has been well preserved by the arid climate. He found to be especially striking an early image of Christ's baptism by immersion and a a sixth-century painting portraying the Master in an intimate, realistic fashion (atypical of later Eastern iconography). Other icons there emphasize biblical motifs that are not emphasized in Western tradition but are nevertheless in harmony with LDS intuition aided by the clarifying lens of the Restoration, Welch said.