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Volume 4: Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon Part 2: 2 Nephi 11 – Mosiah 16

Skousen, Royal. Volume 4: Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon Part 2: 2 Nephi 11 – Mosiah 16 In The Book of Mormon Critical Text Project. Vol. 4. Provo, Ut.: FARMS, 2005.

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon is the fourth volume in Professor Royal Skousen’s ongoing Book of Mormon Critical Text Project. This volume in six parts represents the central task of the project: the attempt to recover the original English-language text of the Book of Mormon. Volume 4 considers every significant textual change that has occurred in the English Book of Mormon over the 175 years since Joseph Smith first dictated it to his scribes. It also considers a number of conjectured revisions for specific passages.

Part 2 of volume 4 examines 898 cases of variation (or potential variation). For 388 of these cases, the critical text proposes a change from the standard text (the current edition). Of these proposed changes, 66 have never appeared in any standard edition, while 23 would make a difference when translating the Book of Mormon. For 13 cases, the proposed changes make the entire text fully consistent in phraseology or word choice, but there are 5 readings that restore a unique phrase or word to the text. In addition, part 2 provides striking evidence that the vocabulary of the original text of the Book of Mormon actually dates from the 1500s and 1600s, not from the 1800s. Each massive volume in the critical text averages nearly 670 oversize pages of research and analysis that reward careful examination with expanded views of the founding text of Mormonism.