Textual Studies of the Doctrine and Covenants: The Plural Marriage Revelation


By William Victor Smith

Available February 27, 2018. Pre-order your copy today.

“A model of what the future of Mormon scriptural studies should be.” — Stephen C. Taysom
“A level of detailed analysis that is essential for future readings.” — Jonathan Stapley

Preview the volume here.
Part of our Contemporary Studies in Scripture series

Book Description:

Joseph Smith’s July 12, 1843, revelation on plural marriage was the last of his formal written revelations and a transformational moment in Mormonism. While acting today as the basis for the doctrine of eternal nuclear families, the revelation came forth during a period of theological expansion as Smith was in the midst of introducing new temple rituals, radical doctrines on God and humanity, a restructured priesthood and ecclesiastical hierarchy, and, of course, the practice of plural marriage.

In this volume, author William V. Smith examines the text of this complicated and rough revelation to explore the motivation for its existence, how it reflects this dynamic theology of the Nauvoo period, and how the revelation was utilized and reinterpreted as Mormonism fully embraced and later abandoned polygamy.

Praise for Textual Studies of the Doctrine and Covenants:

“No Mormon text is as ritually important and as fundamentally mysterious as Doctrine and Covenants 132. William V. Smith’s work is a fine example of what a serious-minded and meticulous blend of source and redaction critical methods can tell us about the revelations produced by Joseph Smith. This is a model of what the future of Mormon scriptural studies should be.”  — Stephen C. Taysom, author of Shakers, Mormons, and Religious Worlds: Conflicting Visions, Contested Boundaries
“William Smith’s work on the plural marriage revelation spans the entire history of the Restoration, with a wealth of context and reception history. Smith makes accessible important and hidden aspects of the story of the revelation in a sometimes dizzying exploration of polygamy, church, and culture. Most importantly Smith’s expertise in textual criticism renders a level of detailed analysis that is essential for future readings.” — Jonathan Stapley, author of The Power of Godliness: Mormon Liturgy and Cosmology
“Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants is many things at once: a theological manifesto, a personal communication, an apologia, a document rooted deeply in multiple historical contexts, and a central source of Mormonism’s evolving understanding of eternal marriage. With great patience and admirable clarity, Smith weaves all of these strands together into a line-by-line reading of this crucial text and its major variants.” — Michael Austin, author of Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World’s Greatest Poem

About the Author:

William Victor Smith received a PhD in mathematics at the University of Utah, where he also studied history under Davis Bitton. After post-doctoral work at Texas Tech University, he worked at the University of Mississippi, the University of Pau, and Brigham Young University. He has been published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and is the admin for the Book of Abraham Project website. He currently lives with his wife Gailan in Orem, Utah. Together they have six children.

More information:

ISBN: 978-1-58958-690-1 (paperback); 978-1-58958-691-8 (hardcover)


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