Almost sixty years ago, President J. Reuben Clark wrote, “[I hope to] provoke in some qualified scholars having a proper Gospel background, the desire and determination to go over the manuscripts and furnish us, under the influence and direction of the Holy Ghost, a translation of the New Testament that will give us an accurate translation that shall be pregnant with the great principles of the Restored Gospel. We shall then have a reliable record of the doings and sayings of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ” (Why the King James Version [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1956], viii-ix).
A team of Latter-day Saint scholars has joined forces to produce a multi-volume commentary on the New Testament with a new translation of the New Testament books. Planned to take several years to complete, this fifteen volume series will combine the best of ancient linguistic and historical scholarship with Latter-day Saint doctrinal perspectives. The BYU New Testament Commentary will make extensive use of research in Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Coptic, and other languages, but the final product will be accessible to a general readership.
With a rapidly growing number of studies on the New Testament, the time has come to offer a responsible, carefully researched, multi-volume commentary that illuminates both the historical and cultural settings as well as the linguistic heritage of this scripture for Latter-day Saints. A virtual river of discoveries during the past one-hundred years in the Near Eastern and the Mediterranean regions highlights the need to bring together information that not only elucidates the New Testament documents but also unpacks their rich legacy for all readers.
A number of scholars make up the editorial steering committee and bring many talents and resources together in organizing and overseeing this project. Their fields of study include early Christian history, prophetic and apocalyptic literature, Greek and Latin languages and literatures, Roman religion and history, Jewish religion and history, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, and ancient law.
This commentary will be the first to combine such a breadth of scholarly expertise in the New Testament coupled with Mormon scripture. The series will examine each book in the New Testament almost word by word, exploring relationships between the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
The first volume, a commentary titled The Revelation of John the Apostle and authored by Richard D. Draper and Michael D. Rhodes, will appear in e-book form this summer (2013) with an invitation for readers’ comments.
The public is invited to a New Testament conference that will be held on May 15, 2013, in BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library auditorium in Provo that will focus chiefly on recent progress on the BYU New Testament Commentary.
9:00 Welcome Carole Mikita
9:15 John W. Welch Crucial LDS Contributions to New Testament Scholarship
9:55 S. Kent Brown Consider the Lilies: How Luke Treats the Story of His Master
10:45 Kaye T. Hanson The Stately Women of the New Testament
11:25 Michael D. Rhodes The Modern-day Relevance of Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians
1:15 Andrew C. Skinner The Arc of the Ministry of John the Baptist
1:55 Eric D. Huntsman Miraculous Signs in the Gospel of John: Revealing the Divine Jesus
2:45 John F. Hall 1 John in the Context of the Apostasy and the End of the Dispensation
3:25 Richard D. Draper Buckle Your Seatbelts: John’s Apocalypse and Our Day
Time will be given for questions and discussion following each presentation. The event is co-sponsored by BYU Studies, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, the BYU Religious Studies Center, and Ancient Near Eastern Studies. The public is invited and admission is free.