Bountiful Harvest: Essays in Honor of S. Kent Brown compiles recent studies by two dozen scholars who respect Professor Brown and his scholarship and whose own research in this Festschrift is worthy of its honoree. A recognized expert on early Christian literature and history and a past director of Ancient Studies at BYU, Brown has devoted his career not only to expanding the scholarly literature in his field but also to building the faith of believers through more popular works such as his literary/historical study of the Book of Mormon entitled From Jerusalem to Zarahemla and the seven-part TV documentary Messiah: Behold the Lamb of God.
A sampling of articles from this volume shows the breadth of research that has gone into its production. The article "Joseph Smith's Interpretation of the New Testament Parables of the Kingdom," by Monte S. Nyman, a BYU emeritus professor of ancient scripture (recently deceased), brings together Joseph Smith's own words as well as his translation of the Bible to interpret eight parables of the Savior. One such parable is of the three measures of meal that rise from only a small amount of leaven. Of this parable, Joseph stated, "It may be understood that the Church of the Latter-day Saints has taken its rise from a little leaven that was put into three witnesses." Such an interpretation—that this parable is in reference to the three witnesses—corresponds, according to Nyman, with both Old and New Testament teachings and Joseph's prophetic role as an interpreter of scripture. Other interpretations by Joseph in this article are just as insightful.
The article "Two Crucified Men: Insights into the Death of Jesus of Nazareth," by BYU professor of ancient scripture Andrew C. Skinner, provides a glimpse into the death and burial of the Savior. One of the main sources from which Skinner draws is the only known archaeological evidence of crucifixion—the remains of a Jew crucified in Jerusalem dating between AD 7 and 70. One striking remnant of this crucified Jew is a right heel bone "with a four-and-one-half-inch crucifixion spike still embedded in the bone." Combining other fascinating discoveries from these remains with historical and prophetic sources, Skinner helps his readers have a fuller view of what the Savior suffered at Calvary and of his burial in Joseph's tomb.
In "Rest Assured, Martin Harris Will Be Here in Time," BYU professors of Church history and doctrine Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter (emeritus) give rare insights into the final decades of the life of Martin Harris, including his return to the Saints in his eighty-eighth year. Jacob Neusner, an eminent Judaic scholar from Bard College, in "From History to Hermeneutics: The Talmud as a Historical Source," addresses the questions "How are we to learn the historical lessons set forth by the revealed documents of sacred scripture?" and "What sort of history can we derive?" In "An Egyptian View of Abraham," John Gee, a BYU Egyptologist, provides a unique Coptic account of an attempted martyrdom of Abraham and his subsequent rescue at the hands of an angel.
Because Brown has had such a far-reaching influence academically and personally, many other scholars have contributed to this volume, including Kevin L. Barney, M. Gerald Bradford, D. Morgan Davis, Ryan Conrad Davis, Paul Y. Hoskisson, William D. Glanzman, Carl Griffin, Kent P. Jackson, Leslie S. B. MacCoull, Robert L. Millet, Daniel C. Peterson, Dana M. Pike, Robert A. Rees, Stephen D. and Shirley S. Ricks, Marian Robertson-Wilson, Gaye Strathearn, and John W. Welch.
Bountiful Harvest serves a dual role by both continuing the serious scholarship of the Maxwell Institute and honoring the life and works of Professor S. Kent Brown. It is available for purchase at the BYU Bookstore.