Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Volume 4
"This work, the fourth of a six-volume commentary, offers new readings of Ammon at the waters of Sebus and the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. Bizarre details in Ammon's narrative spring into light a context of power struggles between rival lineages, while the power of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies' pacifism is a profound renunciation of the Mesoamerican cult of war with its human sacrifices. The book of Alma wrestles with the repeated cycles of religious conflict against the Nehors and military conflict against Lamanites led by apostate Nephites. This volume examines the order of the Nehors and finds a plausible link to a syncretic religion based on theological differences that Laman and Lemuel may have adopted in Jerusalem opposed to the Messiah-centered faith of their father, which drove a thousand-year wedge between the two halves of the family. And why the relentless and detailed emphasis on war in Alma? Gardner analyzes these chapters, not only by the requirements of Mesoamerican warfare (What are 'tents'? How do you provision an army without draft animals?), but also how they fit Mormon's cyclical understanding of history: that the brutal wars that will precede the Messaih's second coming also happened before His first."--Bk. jkt.
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