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There's an interview with Givens about this book, at http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/The-Book-of-Mormon-A-Very-Short-Introduction.html

Thanks for the link, Ben -- that's a very informative interview.

I like this: a view of scripture as "something that is generated, assimilated, transformed, and transmitted in endless ways and in ever new contexts." Pretty much accords with my own view, whether we're talking about the Book of Mormon or the Book of Genesis or the Q'ran.

As for the claim that "Most critics find the Book of Mormon's parallels to books like View of the Hebrews less than persuasive of borrowing," I think Givens is not framing the issue very well here (to be fair, I'd say the same of most others, on both sides of the debate). It's not so much a question of "borrowing" as of the existence in the early 1800s of a discourse of Native American origins. The idea that this discourse sparked Joseph Smith's religious imagination and gave it a sort of conceptual vocabulary seems pretty obvious to me. But that doesn't mean the Book of Mormon "borrows" from View of the Hebrews, any more than it borrowed from William Cullen Bryant's "The Prairies" (which also tells a story of Native American fratricide). It means rather that these works all arise out of the same general cultural source. This shouldn't be any comfort to the hard-line apologist, however, since that source is a 19th-century rather than an ancient source.

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