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Standing ApartMormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy$
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Miranda Wilcox and John D. Young

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199348138

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199348138.001.0001

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Historical Periodization in the LDS Great Apostasy Narrative

Historical Periodization in the LDS Great Apostasy Narrative

(p.23) 1 Historical Periodization in the LDS Great Apostasy Narrative
Standing Apart

Eric R. Dursteler

Oxford University Press

This chapter identifies B. H. Roberts, James E. Talmage, and Joseph Fielding Smith as the formulators of the LDS Great Apostasy narrative in the early twentieth century. It traces the sources of these church historians and identifies methodological limitations of their sources, particularly in light of shifts in academic historical paradigms about periodization, progressivism, and metanarration at the turn of the twentieth century. Drawing from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century confessional histories, Roberts, Talmage, and Smith absorbed the arguments of Jacob Burkhardt and John Addington Symonds, who created a firm distinction between the “dark” Middle Ages and the “light” Renaissance. This periodization remains one of the central features of Mormon historical consciousness.

Keywords:   B. H. Roberts, James E. Talmage, Joseph Fielding Smith, historical periodization, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Great Apostasy narrative, Jacob Burckhardt, John Addington Symonds, Bruce R. McConkie

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