Spencer Fluhman is the director of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYU. The institute has recently published the Maxwell Institute Study Edition of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, in partnership with Deseret Book. The book is edited by Grant Hardy and includes original artwork by Brian Kershisnik.
In this interview, Fluhman introduces readers to the new Study Edition.
What is the mission of the Maxwell Institute?
The Maxwell Institute gathers and nurtures disciple-scholars. As a research community, the Institute supports scholars whose work inspires and fortifies Latter-day Saints in their testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and engages the world of religious ideas.
As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland put it in his landmark Maxwell Institute address from November 2018, “[W]e see the Maxwell Institute as a rarefied training ground where gospel athletes stretch their abilities to speak in grace and truth to all of our Father’s children.”
Briefly introduce the Study Edition.
The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Maxwell Institute Study Edition helps readers appreciate the sacred text by offering, in an accessible format, some of the advances in scholarship on the Book of Mormon over the past generation. It presents the official text of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with study helps aimed to provide users with textual, structural, and theological insight.
It also reformats the text to enhance readability and careful study. It features beautiful original art by Brain Kershisnik that, in his words, “illuminate” the scriptural text itself.
What is the Study Edition—and what is it not?
The Study Edition does not replace the official version of scripture in any way. Rather, it seeks to complement study for serious students.
How is the book designed to benefit “disciples” and “scholars”?
This edition was conceived with “disciple-scholars” in mind. In other words, it resonates with faithful scholarship from an array of researchers and writers but is intended, fundamentally, for those who regard the text as revealed scripture. A leading scholar of the Book of Mormon, Dr. Grant Hardy, has spent years preparing this edition with this particular audience in mind. Other editions offer scholarly perspectives for non-Latter-day Saint scholars or mixed audiences.