Preview The 1920 Edition of the Book of Mormon: A Centennial Adventure in Latter-day Saint Book History November 03 2021
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Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tend to see the Book of Mormon through the lens of personal use, as a single textual and scriptural monolith—the Book of Mormon. That is somewhat natural, since we tend to have at hand and in-use, only the copy or version in our language needed to study it for inspiration. In the process, the point tends to get overlooked that while we may accept the text as inspired, the physical embodiment of that text—the Book of Mormon—is a mortal reality. The Book of Mormon, while it has a “spirit,” also has a mortal “body” (or rather, bodies) existing in space and time. As such, it has a history—and because it comes to us in the form of a book, it also has a book history.
This study is divided into three parts. The first part is a straightforward history of the edition’s editing, production, and manufacturing processes. It examines key points in the reprint history of the book, following important factors in the subsequent impressions of the work across nearly thirty years of re-impressions, corrections, transfers, and one new format. The narrative crowded into chapters one through four together leave Part II to catalogue the bibliographic minutia that is the beating heart of analytic book history and which provides entertainment for true-blooded bibliophiles. The details contained in the production and manufacturing contracts and coupled to the typographical evidence explained in Part III, together resolve once and for all the question of what constitutes the 1920 edition and what does not.