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Conjectural Emendation and the Text of the Book of Mormon
TitleConjectural Emendation and the Text of the Book of Mormon
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1978
AuthorsLarsen, Stan
JournalBYU Studies Quarterly
KeywordsBook of Mormon Translation; Critical Text; Joseph Smith; Oliver Cowdery; Original Manuscript; Printer's Manuscript; Textual History

The process of studying early manuscripts and recommending corrections is called conjectural emendation. It is conjectural because it is based on circumstantial evidence and by its nature is unverifiable since it attempts to go beyond the earliest extant manuscript.A possible need for conjectural emendation in the Book of Mormon arises from its unique origin as a dictated translation. Phonetic similarity may account for Oliver Cowdery’s mishearing of some words. Examples of possible errors found in the Book of Mormon manuscripts that were due to either misspelling, miscopying, and/or mishearing are explicated in this article, under the assumption that such faults are always the failings of men.