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The Book of Mormon Critical Text Project

TitleThe Book of Mormon Critical Text Project
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsGivens, Terryl L.
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
Pagination32-35, 71
KeywordsCowdery, Oliver; Critical Text; Early Church History; Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon; Original Text; Smith, Joseph, Jr.; Textual History; Translation

Royal Skousen’s endeavor to recover the original text of the Book of Mormon is more complicated than it seems because it involves more than simply reproducing the original manuscript. Rather, what Skousen means by “original text” is the very language that appeared on the Urim and Thummim. Every subsequent step, such as Joseph’s reading, his scribes’ understanding and transcribing of that utterance, and Oliver Cowdery’s copying of the manuscript for the printer, exposed the text to the possibility of human subjectivity and error. This paper explains the nature and scope of Skousen’s monumental undertaking and presents some of the methods and reasoning he employs to resolve disputed textual variants in search the Book of Mormon’s original text.