Few scholars of the Book of Mormon have read this volume of scripture as closely and rigorously as Joseph M. Spencer. And of those, none have devoted as much time and effort as he to a theological reading of that sacred text—that is, as Spencer writes, “how it might shape responsible thinking about questions pertaining to the life of religious commitment” (p. 1:173.)
The Anatomy of Book of Mormon Theology divides into two volumes exploring and thinking about these pertinent questions. Whereas the first volume principally contains essays that deal with relatively traditional theological questions and concerns, the essays in this volume ask about what new worlds might be discovered in doing theological work on the Book of Mormon, focusing on what Spencer calls “microscopic” and “macroscopic” theological readings of the text. Essays in the first set examine no more than a verse of the Book of Mormon—more often just a single phrase or two—to see what theological implications lie within the details of the text. The second set of essays ask questions about the shape and intentions of the whole of the Book of Mormon, as this can be discerned through the ways it deploys biblical texts—and especially the writings of Isaiah. A third set of essays follows the two on microscopic and macroscopic styles of theology and are invitations to blur the boundaries that separate different styles of Book of Mormon scholarship. These final essays call on Book of Mormon scholars to move closer to theology and calls on theologians to move closer to the Book of Mormon.