Skip to main content

KnoWhy’s By the Numbers: The First 6 Months

Book of Mormon Central Staff,  February 2016
Last Friday, Book of Mormon Central closed out its sixth month of KnoWhy publication, cranking out 133 KnoWhys (each between 2–3 pages long) in that time. Each KnoWhy explores a specific detail in the Book of Mormon, drawing on the vast body of scholarship already available on the Book of Mormon, as well as scholarship on the Bible, the ancient Near East, and pre-Columbian America, etc., to shed light on the text in various ways.

Altogether, in the first six months, Book of Mormon Central drew from 657 different publications from 398 different authors, 141 of whom are non-Mormons (that is 35% of all authors cited, slightly more than one-third). That comes out to an average of about 5 (4.94) sources used per KnoWhy, from almost 3 (2.99) different authors each, including at least 1 (1.06) non-Mormon each time. The number of different publications per author cited is less than two (1.65).

Of those nearly 400 authors, only 13 (including 1 non-Mormon) have been cited in at least 10 KnoWhys, and of those, only 4 have been cited in more than 20. The two most frequently cited authors show up in 58 and 38 different KnoWhys, and no one else appears in more than 21.

I find these numbers interesting because, to me, they indicate an impressive diversity of sources from which insights into the Book of Mormon have been drawn. Far from being a small, academically incestuous group Mormon scholars, Book of Mormon Central has drawn from over 650 different sources, by nearly 400 different authors and scholars, of which slightly more than one-third are not Latter-day Saints. Even those who are more frequently cited are still not excessively leaned on, with most (all but two) being cited in less than 16% of all KnoWhys, and even the most frequently cited author appearing in less than half of all KnoWhys.


Book of Mormon Central has already produced enough material to keep the diligent student of the scriptures busy for years (should they choose to probe the content of each KnoWhy further beyond a mere reading of it). Yet, there is much, much more in the pipeline, which will continue to draw from an ever wider array of both Mormon and non-Mormon sources in an effort to shed more and more light on this most-sacred, keystone text. 

Comments

  1. Congratulations on your accomplishments. I eagerly await your future KnoWhys. Thank you for doing this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love what I'm learning. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Nephite History in Context 4: The Iron Dagger of King Tutankhamun

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth 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.
The Iron Dagger of King Tutankhamun
Background
The discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 was a worldwide sensation, and to this day is widely regarded as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all-time due to the veritable treasure trove of artifacts found inside. The treasure was so great that to this day many of the items have yet to be studied. Likewise, Tutankhamun (ca. 1336–1327 bc) remains the best-known Pharaoh of Egypt in popular culture today, but details about his actual reign and accomplishments are still generally unknown among the public. Some are aware that he ascended to the throne as a mere child, about 8 years old, but few r…

Nephite History in Context 3: Vered Jericho Sword

Editor’s Note: This is the third 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.
Vered Jericho Sword
Background
Vered Jericho was a small ancient Israelite fortress first excavated in the winter of 1982 by archaeologist Avraham Eitan. It’s located roughly 3.7 miles (6 km) south of Jericho proper, on the northern side of Wadi es-Suweid. The walls still stand over 6 and half feet tall (2 m) and nearly 3 feet (0.9 m) wide, with two towers on each corner flanking the gate. Inside the fort is a courtyard and two dwelling structures. The fort may have also had cultic or ritual functions as a “high place” (beit bamah). It dates to the late seventh to early sixth century BC, and was destroyed by fire, quite likely in either the Babylonian siege of …

Responding to the New Video on Nahom as Archaeological Evidence for the Book of Mormon

Many of my (few) readers have probably already seen the new video by Book of Mormon Central on Nahom as archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, starring my good friend (and co-author on a related paper) Stephen Smoot. If you haven’t, check it out:


As usual, comments sections wherever this video is shared have been flooded by Internet ex-Mormons insisting this not evidence for the Book of Mormon. I’ve actually had a few productive conversations with some reasonable people who don’t think Nahom is, by itself, compelling evidence—and I can understand that. But the insistence that Nahom is not evidence at all is just, frankly, absurd. So I’ll just go ahead and preempt about 90% of future responses to this post by responding to the most common arguments against Nahom/NHM now:
1. The Book of Mormon is false, therefore there can be no evidence, therefore this is not evidence. First, this is circular reasoning. It assumes the conclusion (Book of Mormon is false) which the evidence pre…