The Interpreter Foundation, for those who may not yet be aware, produces a journal dealing primarily with Latter-day Saint scripture and history, and many of the articles are relevant to the defense of the faith while also being interesting and enlightening in their own right. (See here for there mission statement). They release a new article promptly every Friday for those who want to keep abreast of some of the latest developments on Mormon topics.
This Friday’s article, linked here is a review of the recent book Exploring the First Vision, edited by Samuel Alonzo Dodge and Steven C. Harper. Review author Neal Rappleye discusses the various articles and highlights a few particular points made: The available historical record is supportive of the prophet’s claims. The milieu of unusual religious excitement in the years leading up to the First Vision is very much as the prophet described in the canonized account. The several accounts of the First Vision harmonize well
with both the available historical information and with one another. Lastly, many of those who have spent the most time scrutinizing the accounts of the First Vision have found that doing so helped them to gain a deeper conviction of this foundational event.
Also recently arrived from Interpreter is a two-part article by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and David J. Larsen entitled “Ancient Affinities within the LDS Book of Enoch”. The two parts of this article linked here and here discuss correspondences between Joseph Smith’s revealed accounts of Enoch as contained in Moses chapters six and seven and extracanonical pseudopigrapha dealing with Enoch and his people. A number of interesting connections between Joseph’s Enoch and the Enoch of Old Testament pseudopigrapha are brought to the fore including Enoch’s enigmatic title of “lad” and other titles, turning of a river from its course, the names Mahijah and Mahujah, the importance of warfare and secret combinations in these narratives, and also certain particular events such as the roaring of beast out of the wilderness in Moses 7:13. He also discusses some connections between Enoch-related documents in the Joseph Smith papers and ancient sources. Taken together, this paper by Bradshaw and Larsen demonstrates the fruitfulness of the two-pronged approach of “[seeking] learning, even by study, and also by faith” (D&C 88:118).
For any who may prefer listening to reading, audio versions of Interpreter’s articles are available via free podcast from the Itunes store so that you can listen and learn on the go. For those who enjoy a print book more than a computer screen, they also have print on demand available for their completed volumes. Whether in print or podcast, the Interpreter Foundation is making some impressive research available for those interested in deepening their understanding of Latter-day Saint history and scripture. Don’t be the last one to find out about it.