Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon. Fourth Nephi - Moroni. Volume 6
"This work, the last of a six-volume commentary, presents a new reading of 4 Nephi. It covers a symbolically important four hundred years, a baktun, a sacred and immensely important cycle in Mesoamerican calendars. Rather than being a record of blissful (but boring) peacefulness, Gardner reads 4 Nephi as an intentionally 'empty' book that Mormon created with a specific function: to let him move through historical and symbolic time from the immediate aftermath of the Savior's appearance to his own terrible world of blood, betrayal, and bitter hatred. Furthermore, the extinguishing of Nephite civilization coincided, in Mesoamerican terms, with the cult of war that exploded from Teotihuacan in Central Mexico. Another insight is the irony that the book of Ether, with the brother of Jared's splendid vision of Jesus, though translated by Mosiah, was withheld from the Nephites. Gardner compares Mormon's purposeful, well-organized style--he may even have written from an outline--with Moroni's more spontaneous, even rambling style. Gardner sees Moroni providing a type of handbook of instructions for how the Nephite church operated and focusing particularly on the young Joseph Smith who would translate his people's record."--Jacket.
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