The Gift and Power: Translating the Book of Mormon
by Brant A. Gardner
Recipient of Best Book Award in Criticism from the Association of Mormon Letters.
The Book of Mormon was presented to the world as the translation of an ancient text engraved on golden plates more than 180 years ago. However, the faithful assurance that it is a translation has not had an accompanying understanding of how that translation took place. How could the ill-educated Joseph Smith translate the ancient text on the golden plates into the English Book of Mormon upon which so many base not only their faith, but a willingness to completely change their lives?
The Gift and Power: Translating the Book of Mormon examines the various issues surrounding that translation. How does the fact of the translation fit into a magical worldview in which Joseph had a place as a village seer? What might that context mean for our understanding of the text?
This work explores the kind of translation the Book of Mormon represents. Did Joseph Smith or the marvelous instruments do the actual work of translation? Is it a tight or loose translation? How closely tied is the English text to the source text from which it was translated? What about Hebraisms in the text? What about the lengthy passages of King James English in it?
The volume concludes with the most puzzling and persistent questions: How did the seer stones work? Why didn’t Joseph retranslate the Book of Lehi? How did revival language make its appearance in the book? Why couldn’t Oliver Cowdery translate? Brant Gardner offers answers to these questions. The result is a faithful description of how God used a human prophet to translate a transcendentally important scriptural text.
Praise for The Gift and Power:
"Brant A. Gardner’s new book is a game changer—a paradigm-bending exercise combining rigorous methodology with creativity in a historical analysis of the Book of Mormon translation story. . . . Go read this wonderful, provocative, creative book. You may disagree with his theory, but the conversation takes a big step forward in this book. I can’t recommend The Gift and Power:Translating the Book of Mormon enough."-- Blair Hodges, By Common Consent.
"This is a wonderful book about how the Book of Mormon is actually translated.""-- Martin Tanner, host Religion Today Listen to the interview here.
"When interviewing Teryl Givens, I said, it’s hard for me to imagine a better hope in credible apologetics than Teryl Givens, I think you (Brant Gardner) belong in his class." --John Dehlin, Mormon Stories Podcast. Listen to the interview here.
""Whether or not one agrees fully with its conclusions, Gardner’s book contributes new and exciting research and material worthy of consideration by all interested in exploring practical concepts of revelation and the sacred and inspired transmission of scripture by the gift and power of God." --David Tayman,Mormon Times, Deseret News.
"Gardner’s examination of the text and the scholarship is very thorough and his use of cognitive science should pave the way to further research." - Steve Fleming, Juvenile Instructor
"This book does not provide indisputable answers, but it is extremely convincing. Gift and Power provides an excellent starting point for one to start thinking about questions surrounding the translation process. Additionally, unlike many scholars, Gardner writes in a style that is highly readable for a non-academic audience." - Kirk Caudle, The Mormon Book Review
About the Author:
Brant A. Gardner earned his M.S. in anthropology (specializing in Mesoamerican ethnohistory) from the State University of New York at Albany. He is the author of the six-volume Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon. He has presented papers at the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR), the Book of Mormon Archaeological Symposium, and Sunstone. His other published works include chapters in Estudios de Cultura Nahuatl and Symbol and Meaning beyond the Closed Community: Essays in Mesoamerican Ideas, and articles in the FARMS Review, Sunstone, and Meridian Magazine. Brant and his wife, Valerie, have four children and eleven grandchildren.
ISBN: 9781589581319 (Hardcover)