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Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon$
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Elizabeth Fenton and Jared Hickman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190221928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190221928.001.0001

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The Book of Mormon and the Reshaping of Covenant

The Book of Mormon and the Reshaping of Covenant

Chapter:
(p.341) 14 The Book of Mormon and the Reshaping of Covenant
Source:
Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon
Author(s):

Terryl Givens

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190221928.003.0015

The Book of Mormon can be situated within the context of a tradition of covenantal rhetoric. The book is introduced by its editor as assurance to an American remnant of Israel of “the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off.” The term covenant occurs almost 200 times in the text—but it undergoes particular permutations that endow the concept with new shades of meaning. First, against the book’s stark apocalypticism, the gold plates themselves embody the durability of covenant and secure a bridge from ancient to restoration forms of relation to the divine. Second, The Book of Mormon hints at a soteriological reconstruction of covenant that emerges in the context of Smith’s radical theism and his reconstitution of heaven into an anthropocentric rather than theocentric heaven. Covenant, in this light, becomes constitutive of, rather than preparatory for, the celestial society that itself comprises the Mormon heaven.

Keywords:   The Book of Mormon, covenant theology, gold plates, heaven, restoration, soteriology, anthropocentrism, theocentrism

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