Knowing Brother Joseph Again: Perceptions and Perspectives
by Davis Bitton
Davis Bitton's life was cut short before he could finish revisions on this collection of insightful essays about Joseph Smith, a prophet whom he also considers a hero in both classical terms and in the context of nineteenth-century America. Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again explores images of Joseph Smith from a variety of perspectives--not only the devotion of believers but the hostility and skepticism of opponents. Joseph emerges from the folk memories as well as scholarly analyses. One things both ends of the spectrum agreed on was that Joseph was a towering figure, larger than life.
Receiving special attention is the aftermath of Joseph's sudden and shocking assassination. Justifications for murder, struggles with overwhelming grief, and the search for prose and poetic images to capture the desolating loss produce a seldom-explored body of formal and informal works close to the event itself.
Written in the graceful and eloquent style that is a hallmark of Davis Bitton's prose, these eleven essays capture not only the scholarly insights of one of Mormonism's most seasoned scholars but also the warmth of personal feelings and convictions about Mormonism's founding prophet. This book represents the capstone of a distinguished professional career.
Praise for Knowing Brother Joseph Again:
"In each of ten chapters, Bitton traces “how Joseph Smith has appeared from different points of view. It is the image of Joseph Smith rather than the man himself” Bitton seeks to uncover (ix). Beneath the “different, flickering, not always compatible views” of Smith, Bitton still maintains that “Joseph Smith was either a true, authorized prophet of God or he was not. In recounting his visions he either spoke the truth or he did not” (x). From this introductory statement I anticipated a book of pro et con arguments, but Bitton is able to present much more variety throughout the book."—Blair Hodges, By Common Consent.
"I would highly recommend this book as a thoughtful and thought-provoking introductory text for someone wanting an overview of Joseph Smith. . . Different paths and perspectives concerning the life of this enigmatic and undeniably influential figure are presented, as well as the resources available to explore those paths."—David Taymon, The Improvement Era.
ISBN: 978-1-58958-123-4 (Paperback)