The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction

The Book of Mormon A Very Short Introduction With over million copies in print and serving as the principal proselytizing tool of one of the world s fastest growing faiths the Book of Mormon is undoubtedly one of the most influential relig

  • Title: The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction
  • Author: Terryl L. Givens
  • ISBN: 9780195369311
  • Page: 175
  • Format: Paperback
  • With over 140 million copies in print, and serving as the principal proselytizing tool of one of the world s fastest growing faiths, the Book of Mormon is undoubtedly one of the most influential religious texts produced in the western world Written by Terryl Givens, a leading authority on Mormonism, this compact volume offers the only concise, accessible introduction to tWith over 140 million copies in print, and serving as the principal proselytizing tool of one of the world s fastest growing faiths, the Book of Mormon is undoubtedly one of the most influential religious texts produced in the western world Written by Terryl Givens, a leading authority on Mormonism, this compact volume offers the only concise, accessible introduction to this extraordinary work.Givens examines the Book of Mormon first and foremost in terms of the claims that its narrators make for its historical genesis, its purpose as a sacred text, and its meaning for an audience which shifts over the course of the history it unfolds The author traces five governing themes in particular revelation, Christ, Zion, scripture, and covenant and analyzes the Book s central doctrines and teachings Some of these resonate with familiar nineteenth century religious preoccupations others consist of radical and unexpected takes on topics from the fall of Man to Christ s mortal ministries and the meaning of atonement Givens also provides samples of a cast of characters that number in the hundreds, and analyzes representative passages from a work that encompasses tragedy, poetry, sermons, visions, family histories and military chronicles Finally, this introduction surveys the contested origins and production of a work held by millions to be scripture, and reviews the scholarly debates that address questions of the record s historicity.Here then is an accessible guide to what is, by any measure, an indispensable key to understanding Mormonism But it is also an introduction to a compelling and complex text that is too often overshadowed by the controversies that surround it.About the Series Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life s most interesting topics Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

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    About "Terryl L. Givens"

    1. Terryl L. Givens

      Terryl L Givens was born in upstate New York, raised in the American southwest, and did his graduate work in Intellectual History Cornell and Comparative Literature Ph.D UNC Chapel Hill, 1988 , working with Greek, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and English languages and literatures As Professor of Literature and Religion, and the James A Bostwick Professor of English at the University of Richmond, he teaches courses in Romanticism, nineteenth century cultural studies, and the Bible and Literature He has published in literary theory, British and European Romanticism, Mormon studies, and intellectual history.Dr Givens has authored several books, including The Viper on the Hearth Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy Oxford 1997 By the Hand of Mormon The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion Oxford 2003 People of Paradox A History of Mormon Culture Oxford 2007 The Book of Mormon A Very Short Introduction Oxford 2009 and When Souls had Wings Pre Mortal Life in Western Thought 2010 Current projects include a biography of Parley P Pratt with Matt Grow, to be published by Oxford in 2011 , a sourcebook of Mormonism in America with Reid Neilson, to be published by Columbia in 2011 , an Oxford Handbook to Mormonism with Phil Barlow , and a two volume history of Mormon theology He lives in Montpelier, Virginia.


    1. "The Book of Mormon likewise shatters familiar religious paradigms and reconfigures them with a totality that is resistant to compromise."- Terryl L. Givens, The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction.Terryl Givens' Very Short Introduction (VSI #219) to The Book of Mormon is my third selection of Oxford's Very Short Introduction series. I read it 1) because I'm a bit obsessed with the series, 2) I've been following Givens for some time and respect the work he has done and the rigor he uses wh [...]

    2. ~4.6 hoursFab series this, just right for a quick refresh or a peek into a subject that one is curious about. All are unbiased erudite, and entirely objective essays.As Romney stands up for the presidency of USA within the next few days, I found this an enlightening look into the mindset of a cult built on badly-written fanfic.“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ― Aristotle, Metaphysics3* Ancient Egypt3* Paul4* WitchcraftCR The Book [...]

    3. This is a very good book. Givens is a gifted researcher, reader, and writer, and I have loved his work for years, especially By the Hand of Mormon, which I have also reviewed here. This is an academic introduction to the Book of Mormon written by a faithful Mormon. It is not about whether the book is true, but about the contents of the book. Givens explains the structure of the book, explores several main themes that run through it, and mentions some of the stories and people found in it. He als [...]

    4. I should start by saying that I'm not a Mormon so that biases my opinion. I picked this book up shortly after reading Bushman's excellent very short introduction to Mormonism, that book addressed many of the questions / problems people have with the Mormon church, didn't try to hide the worst stuff and then in an apologetic fashion presented his views on them.I'm in the process of reading the Book of Mormon now, and I find that because of my lack of familiarity with the plethora of characters an [...]

    5. The author complains that much attention is paid to the Book of Mormon without much attention being paid to its contents, and in doing so misses that this is the big problem with the way LDS treat it. It does not come as a surprise that its use was all but discouraged by the for most of a century and a half, before taking on enormous significance only in the last thirty or so years.Part I: The Book of Mormon speaks for itselfChapter 1: Origins, narrators and structureChapter 2: ThemesChapter 3: [...]

    6. Great book. Worth buying and reading for chapters on the themes of the Book of Mormon alone. He highlights some themes and make arguments that even long-time readers of the Book will find interesting, new and worthwhile. I really enjoyed it.

    7. To those outside the faith, the Book of Mormon is a bit of a mystery. The story of alleged visions and the finding of golden tablets in upstate New York that had to be translated with no one watching strikes many people as somewhat credulous. Those of us trained in the history of religions, however, know that no religion reaches complete rationality. Terryl Givens is a trusted authority on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is an able guide to the Book of Mormon.This brief intro [...]

    8. Quick read. As a life long mormon it was interesting to try and view the book from a little different perspective. Had some great insights into what makes this such an interesting powerful witness of Jesus Christ.

    9. This is a scholarly and detailed exploration of The Book of Mormon that looks at this work as both a religious text and as a work of literature while explaining the historical context in which Joseph Smith lived.

    10. The Book of Mormon (BoM) occupies a unique place as a piece of sacred scripture in the American religious milieu since it was published in 1830. To its critics and detractors, it is at best a piece of dull fiction ("chloroform in print", according to Mark Twain), and at worst, a blasphemous religious text that guarantees to put anyone believing in it on the sure road to perdition. But, to those that staunchly affirm the biblical truths contained and expounded in it, it contains the inspired Word [...]

    11. Terryl Givens' gloss on Mormon scripture has its good points, especially in its elucidation of major themes in The Book of Mormon and its relatively late ascension as scripture co-equal to the Bible in LDS religious education. Givens was ultimately disappointing, however, in the tantalizing points that he failed to address. Though the Short Introduction goes on at length about how central the idea of Christ is in The Book of Mormon, the author does not include Jesus' appearance in the New World [...]

    12. I got this book to give to my more sophisticated friends in case they wanted to know about the The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Givens' engaging writing shines through once again. He starts with the Book of Mormon's content as opposed to the controversy around the Book, as what is usually done in academic treatments of the book. As a believer who's read the BoM eleven times, I especially enjoyed his breakdown of the Book's major thematic elements. I think Givens should be t [...]

    13. This truly is an amazing little book. Terryl Givens does a fine job of pulling off what seems to be an impossible task -- summarizing the Book of Mormon in a little book of about 130 pages. But he makes it look easy as he identifies themes, highlights key passages, offers sharp little insights, and even finds time to mention some of the criticisms and problems that the Book of Mormon has faced since its inception. Naturally, given the short space allotted him, Givens at times seems to be rushing [...]

    14. This was a pretty good book. It gave a clear introduction to the subject of LDS faith. The only thing I didn't like was how the author kept a very critical attitude throughout the book. It was as if he were trying to prove how unbiased he was or something. He took every part of their beliefs and discussed it in an extremely skeptical, almost insensitive, manner. I'm not LDS, but I do think religious tolerance is missing in our society and painting religions in such a negative light is going to h [...]

    15. The title says the book is a very short introduction. That title is just the name for a series of books, a la the Dummies series. This book by Givens seems to follow a format specified by the publisher, but I could be wrong. I thought the type face was too small and the margins too narrow. If the book had received normal publishing layout it wouldn't be so short. That said, I have become a fan of Mr. Givens' writings and hope to read more. His subject, the Book of Mormon, is complex, rich, and c [...]

    16. An sympathetic look at the Book of Mormon. (Note: Mormonism as a religious system is based on a sprawling set of doctrinal and historical falsehoods. I basically see the Book of Mormon as a non-Christian, revisionist look at Biblical and American history from a sect that draws on Christian imagery but completely twists and rejects its Christianity's central teachings-such as monotheism.) While I cannot recommend this book due to its sometimes overly sympathetic bent to clear falsehoods, I did fi [...]

    17. A fascinating, scholarly look at the Book of Mormon. The author does a great job of breaking down the actual *structure* and *content* of the religious text--rooting his analysis and commentary on the work as that of literature, not as that of religious doctrine--before moving on to the significance of the text in broader social and political context. I'd recommend this read to anyone who is interested in the Book of Mormon, whether they are LDS or non-LDS. I'd also recommend the "A Very Short I [...]

    18. Wow! What an unexpected treasure. I found this book just browsing the library shelves. This is everything I hoped for in Given's By the Hand of Mormon, but sadly that book was not I wanted. Additionally, since this book was just 125 pages, it is a quick read.Ch 2 "Themes" dragged just a little bit for me, but Ch 3 "Stories" and Ch 5 sections "Fortunate Fall" and "Atonement" had key insights that just wowed me. How is that a book I've read a dozen times just keeps surprising me?

    19. Excellent introduction. I've always been skeptical of summary books, and have had less than thrilling experiences with some. But I am very impressed with the 'Very Short Introduction' series. So far, I've read three and all three were about subjects I have more than an 'introductory' knowledge of. I was impressed by all of them. Very highly recommend.

    20. For just a few dollars more, you can get Givens' fuller treatment of the Book of Mormon -- "By the Hand of Mormon" -- to which this Very Short Introduction adds nothing new. I'm still giving this book four stars, however, because it does exactly what its title claims; it provides a very short (and good) introduction to a very complex and important book.

    21. I remember just *loving* this when I read it. But.I can't remember exactly why anymore (perhaps just because I have a tiny small crush on Terry?) But I guess that just means it's time for me to re-read!

    22. I picked up this book as a crash course because I have a Mormon friend and I wanted to get a little glimpse into his world. This book was very helpful as a high level overview. I would recommend it to any outsiders wanting to gain insight.

    23. The author uses an abundance of scholarly vernacular, but the overall point is well made: the book (of Mormon) is good literature, if not great scripture.

    24. Nice introduction.I preferred the last half to the first. The first had an overview of the contents of the book, which was boring as all get out, though I'm sure it was a fine summary.

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