The tree of life, an ancient and richly evocative symbol found in sacred art, architecture, and literature throughout the world, is the intriguing subject of a new book published by the Maxwell Institute and Deseret Book: The Tree of Life: From Eden to Eternity, edited by BYU professors John W. Welch and Donald W. Parry.
In surveying the religious, cultural, scriptural, and artistic aspects of the tree of life, the book explores the development of this ubiquitous symbol in the Old Testament and Jewish thought, the New Testament and Christian tradition, the Book of Mormon, Maya theology, the Catholic religious imagination, the Qurʾan, Asian art and temple traditions, and Mormon art.
It is difficult to conceive of a more vibrant, enduring, multifaceted, and universally meaningful religious symbol. Latter-day Saints have a great affinity for the tree of life, encountering it in the Bible, the Pearl of Great Price, and most vividly in the visions of Lehi and Nephi in the Book of Mormon.
The book contains eleven essays by leading scholars such as Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, Andrew C. Skinner, John W. Welch, and Margaret Barker. Originally given at BYU's Tree of Life Symposium in the fall of 2006, these studies have been updated and enhanced with illustrations (including sixteen color plates).
The book's accessibility and utility as a resource tool are enhanced by a bibliography of LDS and non-LDS sources as well as citation and subject indexes. The Tree of Life is available at the BYU Bookstore.