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Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States$
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Seth Perry

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179131

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179131.001.0001

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The Many Bibles of Joseph Smith

The Many Bibles of Joseph Smith

Scripturalization in Early National America

(p.110) Chapter Five The Many Bibles of Joseph Smith
Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States

Seth Perry

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines scripturalization in early national America by focusing on the scripturalized community that formed around Joseph Smith and his scriptural productions to extend and amplify a universe of biblical citations and performed roles. In contemporary Mormonism, the story of Smith's career begins with the First Vision. He published the Book of Mormon in 1830, using bibles for its composition. The chapter discusses the place of print-bible culture, citationality, performance, and the scripturalization of biblically resonant visionary texts in earliest Mormonism. It also considers how Smith's texts invited their readers and auditors to regard them as scriptures and therefore to regard him as a prophet. It shows that these texts functioned by citing the Bible, both implicitly and explicitly, and argues that the scripturalized community conjured by Smith and those around him as a classic example of the type of religious authority made possible by early national bible culture.

Keywords:   scripturalization, Joseph Smith, citation, Mormonism, print-bible culture, citationality, performance, visionary texts, Bible, religious authority

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