Skip to main content

The Risen Jesus: The Immediate and Eternal Text


On September 26-27 back in 2008, a conference which aimed to explore 3 Nephi was held at BYU. The proceedings of that conference were recently published as Third Nephi: An Incomparable Scripture, edited by Andrew C. Skinner and Gaye Strathearn. I picked up a copy just the other day, and one thing that pleased me is that it included the panel discussion that took place at the end of the conference. In my experience, these are quite often where some of the best, most candid remarks are made, so it is disappointing to me that all too often these do not get published. So I made that the first thing (and so far, the only thing) I read from the volume. I found some of the remarks enlightening, inspiring, and edifying, and so I thought I would share some of those comments, unadulterated with my commentary. Because comments won’t be included in full, I have added some remarks [in brackets] for clarification. Page numbers mark the end of an excerpt and (obviously) indicate the page(s) that excerpt can be found on. Enjoy!

Grant Hardy: But one of the real differences [between the Bible and the Book of Mormon] is that in the narrative portions of the Hebrew Bible the narrators tend to anonymous. They don’t introduce themselves; they don’t talk about why they are writing… whereas with the Book of Mormon narrators, we get to know them pretty well through the course of the book, and perhaps that makes it more immediate as well. It seems like it is told by someone who knows us.

Daniel C. Peterson: And you can actually feel, I think, different personalities. I mean, I have a very strong sense of who Mormon was because he makes comments all throughout.

Robert L. Millet: Or Jacob’s anxiety. (pg. 379)

S. Kent Brown: Jesus himself is the text because he bears in his body the proof of the atonement… when one thinks about ancient texts, one thinks about texts that are inscribed on stone, clay tablets, metal, wood, eventually papyri, which is a softer, more perishable material. Each one of those kinds of surfaces can be destroyed, but the resurrected, glorified body of Jesus cannot. And it bears, as it were, witness of itself, and it carries, in its own way [through the scars in his hands, feet, and side], the text of his suffering and death and resurrection. In a concrete way, the immediate and eternal text is the Risen Jesus, bearing his body marks that will never go away. (pg. 381)

John W. Welch: When I go to the temple, I think of that as being my trip this month or week to Bountiful; what I experience at the temple is my opportunity to come as close as I can to what happened in 3 Nephi. Likewise, when I partake of the sacrament, I like to remember that the sacrament prayers we offer every Sunday don’t come initially from D&C 20, but from Moroni, chapters 4 and 5… Compare those words with 3 Nephi 18. The words in our sacrament prayers are a transformed version of Jesus’s first-person and second-person language recast as third-person text. So we celebrate the sacrament, not only of the Lord’s supper, but also of the Lord’s appearance in 3 Nephi. And when we partake of the bread, we should remember that we eat not only in remembrance of the body that has been broken for us –that’s the New Testament language. What does it say in 3 Nephi? “This ye shall do in remembrance of  the body which I have shown unto you.” That is, in remembrance of the physical, tangible body that, to use Kent’s expression, they were able to “read.” (pg. 381-382)

Grant Hardy: One of my favorite Biblical scholars is E.P. Sanders…Sanders says that study and prayer and temple service bring Israelites into the presence of God, and then he says this: “To study the Torah is to be in the presence of the God who gave it.” And I think that’s what 3 Nephi is like. To read 3 Nephi and to hear those direct quotations of the Savior is to put yourself in Bountiful at the temple. To study 3 Nephi is to be in the presence of the God who gave it, and that may make it incomparable. (pg. 382)

-------------------------------------------------------------

[I'm sure you noticed, but I got the title from the remarks made by S. Kent Brown]

Comments

  1. Great quotes. 3 Nephi is not like the rest of the Book of Mormon. We all should be careful not to take it for granted.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Nephite History in Context 1: Jerusalem Chronicle

Editor’s Note: This is the first contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here
Jerusalem Chronicle (ABC 5/BM 21946)
Background
The so-called “Babylonian Chronicles” are an important collection of brief historical reports from Mesopotamia, found in Iraq in the late-19th century.1 They are written on clay tablets in Akkadian using cuneiform script, and cover much of the first millennium BC, although several tablets are missing or severely damaged, leaving gaps in the record. One tablet, colloquially known as the “Jerusalem Chronicle” (ABC 5/BM 21946),2 provides brief annal-like reports of the early reign of Nebuchadrezzar II (biblical Nebuchadnezzar), including mention of his invasion of Jerusalem.
Biblical sources report that King Jehoiac…

Nephite History in Context 2a: Apocryphon of Jeremiah

Editor’s Note: This is the first part of the second contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here
Apocryphon of Jeremiah (4Q385a)
Background
Between 1947 and 1956, a few well preserved scrolls and tens of thousands of broken fragments were found scattered across eleven different caves along the northwest shores of the Dead Sea near Qumran. Now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, they are arguably the most significant discovery ever made for the study of the Bible and the origins of Judaism and Christianity. Among the writings found are the earliest copies of nearly every Old Testament book, many of the known apocryphal and pseudepigraphic works, and several other texts discovered for the first time at Qumran. Altogether, more than 900 differe…

Nephite History in Context 2b: Letters of ʿAbdu-Ḫeba of Jerusalem (EA 285–290)

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of the second contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here.
Letters of ʿAbdu-Ḫeba of Jerusalem (EA 285–290)
Background
The Amarna Letters make up the bulk of the 382 cuneiform tablets found at Amarna, Egypt in 1887. The letters date to the mid-fourteenth century BC (ca. 1365–1335 bc), with most of them coming from the reign of Akhenaten (ca. 1352–1336 bc), though some date to the reigns of Amenhotep III (ca. 1390–1352 bc) and perhaps Smenkhkara (ca. 1338–1336 bc) and Tutankhamun (ca. 1336–1327 bc). The collection includes international correspondence between Egypt and other nations, such as Assyria and Babylonia, but most of the letters are to and from vassal kings in the Syria-Palestine region, whic…