Review of Grant Hardy. Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. xix + 346 pp., with index. $29.95.
Grant Hardy, chair of the history department at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, studied Chinese history at Yale and clearly has read a lot of ancient texts with the greatest care. Somewhere along the line, he learned to really read a text: to savor it, to interrogate it, to listen to every voice, to compare and contrast, to hear resonances of one voice in another, and, not least, to hear silences. We are all fortunate that he has not limited the employment of his finely honed textual skills to his academic specialty. We thought we were reading the Book of Mormon all along, but it turns out we weren’t yet really reading it—not in this full sense, not with this loving attention, this openness to possibilities, this exposed humanity. Continue reading