Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Book of Mormon, Civilization, Criticism, Authenticity as a Historical Record, Language, Book of Mormon as Literature


Positivist historiography has always maintained an impermeable boundary between history and literature. But positivism is itself a historical sediment whose time is now past. Recent literary theory and historiography emphasize the continuities between history and literature. Under the domination of historiography by a positivist epistemology (from about 1880 to 1960), history attempted to free itself from its literary heritage. More recently theorists from a number of disciplines have recognized that history, both ancient and modern, has been informed by literary motifs, themes, and strategies. The repetition of the exodus literary pattern, for example, through the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Christian history does nothing to bring into question the historical status of the events. The exodus patterns evident in Mosiah do not force the Book of Mormon to surrender historical claims just because they also happen to be literary.