Today on the Talk Mormonism podcast I am joined by Colby Townsend, PhD student in English at Indiana University Bloomington, and author of the paper “Translation as Expansion: The Method of Joseph Smith’s Revision of Genesis in Moses 1 and 7.”
“Translation as Expansion” was published in the October 2020 edition of the Journal of Mormon History and has been making waves throughout the Mormon studies community ever since. In this interview, Colby and I spent some time discussing the field of literary criticism and the methods used to make sense of texts-in this case scriptural texts produced by Joseph Smith. This topic is understandably controversial within the Mormon community, there seems to be no end to theories and opinions as to what Joseph Smith meant by “translation,” and recent scholarship around this topic has continued to shift the debate in new, sometimes challenging directions.
Colby and I discuss his paper, focusing specifically on the production of the Book of Moses, but we also assess the unique predicament facing Mormon scholars attempting to make sense of the term “translation” in light of new scholarship.