Volume 4: Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon Part 4: Alma 21–55
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 4 of volume 4, like its predecessors, attempts to recover the original text of the Book of Mormon by identifying variations in the text that have been introduced through scribal, typesetting, and editing errors and inconsistencies. Part 4 examines 996 cases of variation (or potential variation) in the text. For 423 of these cases, the critical text proposes readings that differ from the standard text (the current edition). Of these proposed alternate readings, 150 have never appeared in any standard printed edition of the Book of Mormon, while 56 readings make a difference in meaning that would show up in any translation of the English text of the Book of Mormon into another language. In addition, 16 readings make the text fully consistent in phraseology or usage, while 4 readings restore a unique phrase or word choice to the text.