My first impression in reading this text was that it was rightly named in its title. Indeed the author intends to lead the reader through an exploration of a book that he describes as an imperfect book, and does so in a way that enables the book to speak for itself. Given the fact that so many approach the Book of Mormon through lenses already adjusted to read the text for apologetic purposes, I found the author’s engagement of the Book of Mormon to be respectfully and critically refreshing. Feeling unable to rely on historians, archeologists, self-designated authorities, or others with sure knowledge of the Book of Mormon, the author turns to the book itself for what it might reveal about itself. Rather than turning to external evidences to vindicate the central claims of the Book of Mormon, the author invites the reader to explore internal evidences to be discovered in the book itself. He does this while engaging a broad range of contemporary scholarship.
Dale E. Luffman, Association for Mormon Letters
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A major theme in the Book of Mormon is the depiction of Native Americans as descendants of ancient Hebrews. Other prominent ideas are the restoration of pure Christianity to an apostate world, the visit of Jesus to the western hemisphere, and recurring cycles of ruin and renewal. All of this begs the question: “Is all of this true?” Wunderli has made an avocation of examining this and related questions by digging deeply into the Book of Mormon and surveying the large body of research that has been generated by scholars of various disciplines. He succinctly summarizes his own findings and this mass of often conflicting information, then adds his own trenchant analysis to the mix. Fascinating reading due to how Wunderli has structured the book as his own personal quest for answers, An Imperfect Book is an accessible but thorough overview of major controversies involving authorship, use of idiom, anachronisms, contrived names, borrowed passages, and prophecies made and fulfilled within the book’s own narrative frame. Wunderli includes a discussion of dozens of “curiosities” such as the presence of a solitary polygamist, Amulek, in the book. Wunderli has examined the arguments and reduced the data to a collection of informative observations and reasoned arguments in an altogether readable work.About the Author:
Earl M. Wunderli has degrees in philosophy and law from the University of Utah. He retired in 1993 as Associate General Counsel for IBM in Connecticut. Now in Utah, he is a member of the board of directors of the Sunstone Foundation; he has presented aspects of his research at the annual Sunstone Theological Symposium in Salt Lake City. He has published two studies of chiasmus and Book of Mormon geography in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.
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