Believing History: Latter-day Saint Essays

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9780231130066: Believing History: Latter-day Saint Essays

The eminent historian Richard Bushman here reflects on his faith and the history of his religion. By describing his own struggle to find a basis for belief in a skeptical world, Bushman poses the question of how scholars are to write about subjects in which they are personally invested. Does personal commitment make objectivity impossible? Bushman explicitly, and at points confessionally, explains his own commitments and then explores Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon from the standpoint of belief.

Joseph Smith cannot be dismissed as a colorful fraud, Bushman argues, nor seen only as a restorer of religious truth. Entangled in nineteenth-century Yankee culture―including the skeptical Enlightenment―Smith was nevertheless an original who cut his own path. And while there are multiple contexts from which to draw an understanding of Joseph Smith (including magic, seekers, the Second Great Awakening, communitarianism, restorationism, and more), Bushman suggests that Smith stood at the cusp of modernity and presented the possibility of belief in a time of growing skepticism.

When examined carefully, the Book of Mormon is found to have intricate subplots and peculiar cultural twists. Bushman discusses the book's ambivalence toward republican government, explores the culture of the Lamanites (the enemies of the favored people), and traces the book's fascination with records, translation, and history. Yet Believing History also sheds light on the meaning of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon today. How do we situate Mormonism in American history? Is Mormonism relevant in the modern world?

Believing History offers many surprises. Believers will learn that Joseph Smith is more than an icon, and non-believers will find that Mormonism cannot be summed up with a simple label. But wherever readers stand on Bushman's arguments, he provides us with a provocative and open look at a believing historian studying his own faith.

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Book Description:

Eminent historian Richard Lyman Bushman presents an engaging history of the Mormon religion that is full of intricate subplots and peculiar twists. He discusses the Book of Mormon's ambivalence toward republican government and its fascination with records, translation, and history, explores the culture of the Lamanites (the enemies of the favored people), and recasts Joseph Smith as an original thinker who offered the possibility of belief in a time of growing skepticism. Believing History is also a rare and honest confession in which Bushman reflects on his faith and ponders how scholars are to write about subjects in which they are personally invested. In this book, believers gain a whole new perspective on their religion, nonbelievers learn that Mormonism cannot be summed up with a simple label, and all are treated to a provocative and open look at a believing historian studying his own faith.

About the Author:

Richard Lyman Bushman is Gouverneur Morris Professor of History emeritus at Columbia University.

Reid L. Neilson is assistant professor of church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University.

Jed Woodworth is a Ph.D. candidate in American history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Richard Lyman Bushman
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Book Description Columbia University Press, United States, 2004. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The eminent historian Richard Bushman here reflects on his faith and the history of his religion. By describing his own struggle to find a basis for belief in a skeptical world, Bushman poses the question of how scholars are to write about subjects in which they are personally invested. Does personal commitment make objectivity impossible? Bushman explicitly, and at points confessionally, explains his own commitments and then explores Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon from the standpoint of belief. Joseph Smith cannot be dismissed as a colorful fraud, Bushman argues, nor seen only as a restorer of religious truth. Entangled in nineteenth-century Yankee culture-including the skeptical Enlightenment-Smith was nevertheless an original who cut his own path. And while there are multiple contexts from which to draw an understanding of Joseph Smith (including magic, seekers, the Second Great Awakening, communitarianism, restorationism, and more), Bushman suggests that Smith stood at the cusp of modernity and presented the possibility of belief in a time of growing skepticism. When examined carefully, the Book of Mormon is found to have intricate subplots and peculiar cultural twists. Bushman discusses the book s ambivalence toward republican government, explores the culture of the Lamanites (the enemies of the favored people), and traces the book s fascination with records, translation, and history. Yet Believing History also sheds light on the meaning of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon today. How do we situate Mormonism in American history? Is Mormonism relevant in the modern world? Believing History offers many surprises. Believers will learn that Joseph Smith is more than an icon, and non-believers will find that Mormonism cannot be summed up with a simple label. But wherever readers stand on Bushman s arguments, he provides us with a provocative and open look at a believing historian studying his own faith. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780231130066

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Book Description Columbia Univ Pr, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. first edition edition. 312 pages. 9.00x6.25x1.00 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 0231130066

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Book Description 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. The eminent historian Richard Bushman here reflects on his faith and the history of his religion. These essays describe the struggle of a scholar to find a basis for belief in.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 312 pages. 0.540. Bookseller Inventory # 9780231130066

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