In the fall of 1978 Professor Joseph P. Schlutz, Professor of Talmudic and Rabbinic literature at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, conducted a semester-long seminar in which he and the class together considered various Jewish elements present in the Book of Mormon. The lectures considered such topics as the concept of God, cosmology, prophecy, law, sacriftce, prayer, liturgy, festivals, family and political institutions, messianism, and views of the afterlife. About 20 students participated in the seminar and through the generosity of several of them, F.A.R.M.S. has been able to obtain two sets of cassette recordings of the sessions. In the next few months, these tapes will be transcribed and prepared for convenient use. Watch for the written copies of these interesting lectures to become available.
A remarkable copy of the 1830 First Edition of the Book of Mormon has been donated to F.A.R.M.S. This book, first owned by James Gilruth in 1831, was handed down within the family to Louis Edward Hills (1897), who served in the RLDS Quorum of Seventy until his release in 1923.
This volume is in excellent condition, containing all of its original pages. Since the printer, E. B. Grandin, made minor typographical corrections during the run of the first edition, some 36 of the 41 such corrections appear in this copy.
The Foundation deeply appreciates this precious contribution.
Last September a translation of John W. Welch's 1969 article from BYU Studies, "Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon," appeared in Horizon, a new magazine published in Holland for the LDS community in Europe. Each issue of Horizon features a "Studies" section in which F.A.R.M.S. Reprints and Preliminary Reports appear from time to time.
Response of readers, according to Editor Wilford Decoo, was overwhelming. Of particular interest was a letter from a Catholic Father, J. R. Nijmegen, which reads:
I wish that all my colleague-priests could read this remarkable article. It was a revelation for me. I have several inexpensive articles and books on my desk that give a "quick" explanation ofMormonism. The Book of Mormon is there noted as both "gruff and mixed," "styleless," and a "caricature of the Bible," and "heathenish and disordered."
And now it appears that this Book is built on rich and perfect chiastic structures, which places it as an authentic literary document on the same high plain as the best texts from Biblical antiquity. I think that students and critics of the Mormon Church must learn to be more objective and careful in their judgments. Whoever would dispatch the Book of Mormon with a few cheap statements only shows that the spirit of the Inquisition is not yet dead. The Book ofMormon is an intriguing book. We must be able to and dare to judge it for its internal value.
For the last two years F.A.R.M.S. has offered as one of its Reprints Curtis Wright's article from the Journal of Library Science, "Ancient Burials of Metal Documents in Stone Boxes: Implications for Library Science." Last month, an expanded version of this article was published by the University of Illinois in their Occasional Papers Series for the Graduate School of Library Science. This is high academic recognition for his work. You can order copies of this publication for $3.00 from Occasional Papers, Graduate School of Library and Informational Science, Publications Office, 249 Armory Bldg., 505 E. Armory Street, Champaign, IL 61820.
Gordon Thomasson has brought to our attention the availability of a reproduction of An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 First Edition, by Noah Webster. The dictionary is two volumes bound as one with 2,000 pages. It can be ordered from the Foundation for American Christian Education, 2946 Twenty-fifth Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132. The cost is $30.00 plus $2.15 postage. As one might expect, this resource is valuable in determining the meanings of words used by Joseph Smith and his contemporaries. This sheds light on the meanings of passages in the Latter-day scriptures and historical documents.
As announced in the last Newsletter, F.A.R.M.S. is sponsoring a contest to see who can add the most overlooked entries to the recently released Comprehensive Bibliography of the Book of Mormon. Over 130 copies of the Bibliography have already been sent out. Your assistance can help to make this research tool even more useful for future scholarship. Prizes for those who send in the most additions will be copies of recent books about the Book of Mormon autographed by their authors. The deadline for contest entries has been extended to April 30, 1983, but your suggestions or additions are welcome at any time.