BYU Studies Quarterly

BYU Studies Quarterly

Article Title

One Eternal Round


Mormon studies, book review, history, doctrine


Hugh Nibley began serious research on One Eternal Round as early as 1988. When Nibley's long-time colleague Michael D. Rhodes took over the project following Nibley's death in 2005, he was faced with thirty boxes of research notes and drafts, 450 computer files, and as many as twenty versions of one chapter. Fortunately, Michael is familiar with most of Nibley's prodigious output, as well as the subjects listed in the preface, which are a reflection of Nibley's mind and interests and which are all within the scope of One Eternal Round.

Throughout Nibley's long career, his critics have seen him as a patternist that has gone too far, conveniently seeing what fits and discarding what doesn't. With One Eternal Round, it becomes more difficult to maintain this disparaging assessment of Nibley's work. Nibley and Rhodes point out that they "are not picking convenient parallels at random," but that the subjects treated in One Eternal Round are central and were of "immense importance" to the Egyptians. Joseph Smith's explanation of Facsimile 2 is at the core of what they sought after: an understanding of the nature of life, the afterlife, and the cosmos, all of which would lead them to resurrection and godhood. Nibley's book provides significant evidence of Joseph Smith's authenticity by presenting for the first time many facts, symbols, and artifacts that he could not have known about in his day.

Michael Rhodes is to be commended for faithfully observing Nibley's intentions in One Eternal Round. In the final words of his introduction, Rhodes writes the following: "One Eternal Round, Hugh Nibley's final publication, the culmination of a life dedicated to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to discovering truth wherever it could be found, is a monument to his scholarship, his remarkable ability to see relationships in diverse areas of study and to synthesize them into a comprehensible whole, and his humble willingness to consecrate his work to the glory of the Lord and the furtherance of his kingdom here on earth. I consider it one of the greatest blessings of my life to have known him and to have associated and worked with him." I fully empathize with Rhodes and wholeheartedly give my "Amen."