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The Book of Mormon: A Readers Edition: A Reader's Edition [Paperback]

Grant R. Hardy
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

25 Aug 2005
Regarded as sacred scripture by millions, the "Book of Mormon" - first published in 1830 - is one of the most significant documents in American religious history. Now available in paperback, Grant Hardy's new "Reader's Edition" has reformatted the complete, unchanged 1920 text in the manner of modern translations of the Bible, with paragraphs, quotation marks, poetic forms, topical headings, multichapter headings, indention of quoted documents, italicized reworkings of biblical prophecies, and minimized verse numbers. He has also provided a hypothetical map based on internal references, an essay on "Book of Mormon" poetry, a full glossary of names, genealogical charts, a basic bibliography of Mormon and non-Mormon scholarship, a chronology of the translation, eyewitness accounts of the Gold Plates, and information regarding the lost 116 pages, and significant changes in the text. The editorial aids and footnotes in this edition provide readers with a clear guide through this complicated text. New readers will find the story accessible and intelligible; Mormons will gain fresh insights from familiar verses seen in a broader narrative context.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; New edition edition (25 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 025207341X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252073410
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 16.1 x 3.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,069,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"This is a necessary and useful presentation of this key foundational text. Hardy's helpful edition should go a long way toward making the Book of Mormon approachable not only for Mormons themselves but also for religion scholars whose familiarity with LDS traditions may outweigh their knowledge of the scripture itself."

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
An account of Lehi and his wife Sariah, and his four sons, being called (beginning at the eldest) Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Grant Hardy has produced a nicely edited version of the 1920 Book of Mormon text, complete with paragraphs, quote marks (and footnotes indicating the reference) and a range of other useful features for readers. It is not as essential for scholarly work as Royal Skousen's The Book of Mormon: The Original Text, nor is it quite as accurate as the standard LDS 1981 edition (which restored parts of several verses that had been accidentally lost in transmission between previous printings), it is nonetheless very useful and highly recommended.

For actual Mormons (including the reviewer), reading the Book of Mormon in a form other than spreadsheet format makes for a different, and very pleasant reading experience. It's particularly helpful in following the chain of thought in a given passage, especially the sermons or biblical commentary - the latter of which is also greatly helped by Hardy's use of quotation marks and italics to denote quotation and allusion. The other helps are likewise useful in following the overall flow of the text, particularly useful when we sometimes can't see the books for the verses. For interested others, particularly students of comparative religion (including the reviewer again), Hardy's edition is perhaps even more useful, really helping the outsider to engage with what is actually a very complex text, and get an overall sense of the Book of Mormon itself. This includes a range of useful appendices, covering the historical circumstances of the Book of Mormon's publication, the most significant textual variations and chronological summaries of events within the book itself. Were I teaching a university course on the subject, I'd probably point the students to this text first.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  66 reviews
104 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are going to read it, start here 31 July 2005
By j garr - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read Mr. Hardy's edition of this book from start to finish. But unlike many herein, I will address my comments not to whether the book is "right or wrong," but to whether it is useful, provides new insights to life, and is well written.

If you are going to read the Book of Mormon, this is the edition to read.

Like the Old Testament, the Book of Mormon structure, language, "flash backs", etc, can be a challenge just to get through. Hardy has changed that simply by updating the way the words are presented. By using the exact same words but

a) by putting them into a format more commonly used in our day and age,

b) by starting and ending some chapters in a more logical place,

c) by telling the reader in the difficult parts things such as "OK, now the next 10 chapters are a flashback in time" and then 10 chapters later "OK, that's the end of the flashback, now we're going back to our original story",

d)and by other such things,

Hardy makes the book much more readable and accessible. Which is probably why he named it "A Reader's Edition" as opposed to "An Analyst's Edition" that you really have to study, analyze and know a fair amount already just to finish the book.

So, this is a very valuable contribution to the world of religion and moral values because now one can more easily just "read" the book and get the big picture of it as a whole.

Again, if you are going to read the book, I'd suggest this edition.
60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take the "Duty" Out of Scripture Study 24 Aug 2005
By John E. Enslen - Published on
For those who have a problem with deleting chapters and verse numbers from the Book of Mormon, they need to remember four important things. First of all, the original authors did not write it with chapters and verses. Second, Joseph Smith did not translate it with double columns and verses. Third, the use of chapters and verses is merely a tool for allowing easy reference to the same location by multiple users in a joint-study setting. Fourth, the words of the Book of Mormon have not been changed or resequenced. They are the same as those found in the official edition from which this reader's edition is taken.

So far as personal study is concerned, double columns and verse numbers are an impeding hindrance, tending to interrupt the thought process, i.e., pondering. Furthermore, reading Grant Hardy's reader's edition of the Book of Mormon takes the sense of "duty" out of scripture study. Psychologically, one feels that he is reading a novel as opposed to scripture. By deleting the double columns, verse numbers, and verse indentions, the reading flows smoothly and uninterrupted. Grant's appropriate and timely subchapter headings give the reader a sneak preview of what's ahead, and thus increase one's anticipation, as well as one's understanding of the overall historical picture. Setting out the poetry in poetic form allows one to recognize literary beauty that would otherwise be overlooked.

Without the slightest hesitation, I recommend this version of the Book of Mormon to every person on planet earth literate in the English language. Happy reading! John E. Enslen, Wetumpka, Alabama
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Available Edition of the Book of Mormon 1 Jun 2005
By Paul Mouritsen - Published on
As a former Mormon missionary, I know how difficult it is to get most people to read the Book of Mormon. The official edition is just too daunting and unapproachable for most to attempt. The dense, two column format, the verse and chapter headings that cut across the natural structure of the narrative, the way the poetic sections are crammed together and printed like prose, the lack of quotation marks to set off dialogue, and the massive system of cross references all make give the book a forbidding appearance that discourages all but the most determined readers.

This edition remedies these problems and adds a number of new and useful study aids, such as headings to set of the natural divisions of the text. The footnotes are brief and carefully chosen. The foreward provides a good introduction to the significance of the book. Much useful information is added in the appendices. There is a list of significant textual variations that should lay to rest the old ant-Mormon cavil about how the text has bee deliberately altered. There are useful dynastic charts and genealogical tables. One appendix includes fascinating primary accounts about the origins of the book. In short, it is an exquisite pleasure to read, even for those of us who are already thoroughly familiar with the book.

If the University of Illinois can publish such an attractive, read-friendly book, why can't the church print a more inviting missionary edition?
40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Reader's Quest 8 Dec 2003
By A Customer - Published on
The introduction is the shortest section of this Reader's Edition of The Book of Mormon, but it is the most intriguing. Here, Grant Hardy gives one of the most succinct explanations of the Book of Mormon, its history, and its importance as a religious text that this reviewer has read. It presents reliable and positive information for the new reader and is of value to the believer as well.
I like Hardy's format of the Book of Mormon, but know that some readers who are familiar with the official LDS edition of these scriptures find the Reader's Edition disconcerting when they first begin reading it. I admonish them to continue reading! They will find a greater appreciation of the story as this format guides them through the complexities of the text.
I am particularly pleased with the way Hardy has organized quotations from the Bible, psalms and poetry. They are more meaningful to me than in the old format. The Isaiah chapters are easier to read, and other poetic passages break away from the narrative and are immediately recognizable as an intense expression of feeling. Ammon's "boast" in chapter 26 is phrased as a psalm. This gives more meaning to the lines spoken. The contrast between the poetry and other conversation heightens the action. Also, compare Nephi's psalm (1 Nephi 10:18-22) with the same scripture in the standard edition.

The appendices present a variety of interesting material: a history of the translation; the preface to the original edition; forms of poetry in the Book of Mormon, and charts and maps. These are a treasure trove for the scholar and for the person who approaches the book for the first time. They are also a rich source of information for the student of the Book of Mormon who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the text itself.
Both this new Reader's Edition, and the official LDS edition of the Book of Mormon, with its many cross-references and footnotes, should be part of the believer's library. Anyone who opens the book for the first time will do well to begin with Hardy's Reader's Edition.
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Which edition?? Doubleday or U of Ill. Reader's Edition? 22 Dec 2004
By R. Briggs - Published on
The main decision you must make is between the Doubleday and the University of Illinois Press editions. Do I spend $16.47 for the Doubleday edition or plunk out $34.76 for UoIll Press "Reader's Edition"?

Each is formatted in a fashion that is probably more "reader-friendly" than the editions published by the Mormon Church. So each has that benefit. For an introduction to the basic text, without explanatory notes or commentary, the Doubleday edition is for you.

However, just as critical studies have been important in elucidating the Biblical text, so too for the Book of Mormon. For an introduction to some of the issues (form criticism, source criticism, etc.), you may want to pay the extra money for Grant Hardy's "Book of Mormon: A Reader's Edition." It contains useful annotations and comments.

The Book of Mormon is a classic of religious literature. The Doubleday edition is a good introduction while "The Reader's Edition" will present some of the fascinating aspects of the text that lurk below the surface.
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