Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Volume 2
"This work, the second in a six-volume commentary, scrutinizes how Nephi used Isaiah to establish his new community's political and cultural charter--particularly the focus on egalitarianism that became a Nephite hallmark. It also begins to tackle the question of Joseph Smith's translation in passages clearly related to the King James Version. Other insights include a discussion of Jacob's socio-political redefinition of the terms 'Lamanite' and 'Nephite, ' establishing their meanings for the rest of the text. Gardner also analyzes the possibility that Jacob was marginalized from power in Nephite society, measuring the distance in a single generation between Nephi's egalitarian ideals and the influence already exercised by the new Mesoamerican setting. In this context, the conflict between Sherem and Jacob becomes an attempt to discredit and further marginalize Jacob, an attempt thwarted by Yahweh. Another insight is Zenos's allegory of the olive tree. Zenos, probably another northern kingdom prophet like Isaiah, reveals a surprising degree of sophistication about Middle Eastern oleiculture. This allegory contains the only explicit, though still veiled, allusion to a preexisting population in Nephite terriory. It joins Nephi's appropriation of Isaiah's 'isles of the sea' references to mean the Nephites."--Bk. jkt.
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