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Joseph Smith’s First Vision: New Methods for the Analysis of Experience-Related Texts
|Title||Joseph Smith’s First Vision: New Methods for the Analysis of Experience-Related Texts|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2016|
|Authors||Taves, Ann, and Steven C. Harper|
|Journal||Mormon Studies Review|
|Keywords||Early Church History; First Vision; Methodology; Smith, Joseph, Jr.|
The following exchange between Ann Taves and Steven C. Harper took place at the 2014 American Academy of Religion conference in San Diego, California. It was years in the making. At the 2013 Mormon History Association conference in Layton, Utah, Harper commented on Taves’s paper, “Joseph Smith and the Materialization of the Golden Plates.” That fascinating panel interaction spurred a productive subsequent personal correspondence related to their shared interest in religious experience and Joseph Smith’s first vision. They eventually opted for a formal dialogue script to recount what they had learned in their scholarly exchange. We reproduce the complete dialogue here, with minor editing to suit a print format and accompanying appendixes related to primary source material, both as a case of best practices in lively, respectful, and muscular scholarly engagement and also as an example of the fruitful tension produced by marked differences in methodological approaches and assumptions in the academic study of Mormonism.
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