By the time Joseph Smith published The Book of Mormon, Americans had been producing and consuming faux biblical texts for close to a century. Imitating a practice that originated as a satirical literary genre in eighteenth-century Britain, Americans began producing pseudo-biblical texts during the Revolution. This essay demonstrates how the prism of pseudo-biblicism allows us to view The Book of Mormon as emerging from a larger biblico-American world. The genre demonstrates how pervasive the Bible was in the cultural landscape of the Republic and the ease with which Americans lapsed into biblical language. As this essay points out, however, pseudo-biblical discourse also sheds new light on The Book of Mormon. The similarities between The Book of Mormon and other pseudo-biblical texts provide a significant context to understanding the creation and reception of Smith’s text, the culture of biblicism in the nineteenth century, and the intellectual history of the early American Republic.
|Title of host publication||Americanist Approaches to the Book of Mormon|
|Editors||Elizabeth Fenton, Jared Hickman|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|State||Published - 2019|