Kevin Christensen reviews Margaret Barker's work and proposes ways to synchronize it with Latter-day Saint beliefs.

Academic / Technical Report
Kevin Christensen

Kevin Christensen, "'Paradigms Regained': A Survey of Margaret Barker's Scholarship and its Significance for Mormon Studies" (FARMS Occasional Papers 2; Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2001), 78-80

Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies
Kevin Christensen, Margaret Barker
Reading Public

Mormon scholarship has shown that the Isaiah quotations in the Book of Mormon are not mere “filler” but have a meaningful place and purpose in the text. Critics to date have passed on explaining why this should be so, in favor of the much more manageable task of asserting a simple dependence of the Book of Mormon Isaiah quotations on the King James Bible and to contrast the Book of Mormon with the multiple Isaiah authorship hypothesis. The Book of Mormon, however, insists that different versions of scriptural books existed and presumes that existing books have been edited. And what exactly are the parameters of an inspired translation, given in Joseph Smith’s language and weakness, according his understanding? No one knows. If the Isaiah issue cannot be said to be decisively resolved, there is, as Thomas Kuhn observes, something to be said for “tolerating crisis.” He comments that “like artists, creative scientists [and I presume to add, scholars and laypersons] must occasionally be able to live in a world out of joint.” Kuhn describes this situation as an “essential tension.” Despite the current irresolution of the Isaiah situation, the Book of Mormon’s use of Isaiah has been tantalizingly fruitful, and remains, in my view, very promising. Personally, I think Barker’s overall views can be reconciled with

the Book of Mormon.

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