Barney: "three types of evidence favoring the conclusion that Joseph understood the meaning of the italicized words"

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Barney: "three types of evidence favoring the conclusion that Joseph understood the meaning of the italicized words"

Some LDS scholars do believe that Joseph may have understood the meaning italicized words. Kevin Barney: [1]

I think there are basically three types of evidence favoring the conclusion that Joseph understood the meaning of the italicized words. First, and most importantly, is the distribution of the variants in Joseph’s inspired translations, which show a clear (though by no means absolute) tendency to revolve around the italicized words. Skousen and Wright agree roughly on this distribution, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30%, give or take, but they draw different conclusions from it. My experience spending a fair amount of time examining variants is that the italics were a significant factor.

Second is the practice of often crossing out italicized words in the “marked Bible” used as an aid in preparing the JST. Anyone with access to the critical text can see this phenomenon for herself, since they have actual pictures of the marked Bible text.

Third are near-contemporary statements from Joseph’s milieu evincing a familiarity with the purpose of the italics. A prominent example is this from a W.W. Phelps editorial in the Evening and Morning Star (January 1833):

The book of Mormon, as a revelation from God, possesses some advantage over the old scripture: it has not been tinctured by the wisdom of man, with here and there an Italic word to supply deficiencies.—It was translated by the gift and power of God.[2]

Notes

  1. Kevin Barney, "KJV Italics," bycommonconsent.com (13 October 2007)
  2. W.W. Phelps, The Evening and the Morning Star (January 1833)