I would like to let visitors to By Common Consent know that a major article by Michael Quinn has been posted on the E-Papers section of Dialogue Paperless. Quinn brings a fresh perspective to the discussion of the “First Vision,” providing evidence that there is good reason to believe that the vision occurred at the time and in the circumstances that Joseph Smith claimed. This article, writes Quinn, “provides new ways of understanding Joseph’s narrative, analyzes previously neglected issues/data, and establishes a basis for perceiving in detail what the teenage boy experienced in the religious revivalism that led to his first theophany.” (D. Michael Quinn, “Joseph Smith’s Experience of a Methodist ‘Camp-Meeting’ in 1820.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Dialogue Paperless. E-Paper # 3 (July 12, 2006) http://www.dialoguejournal.com/.) The article is accompanied by a blog where readers who wish to engage in a detailed or technical discussion of the article may enter comments.
I would also be interested in comments on By Common Consent. Some scholars feel that the First Vision is a worn-out topic, a debate brought to a condition of stalemate between unbelieving scholars on the one hand and by believing scholars on the other. After reading Quinn’s article, I can’t agree. It seems to me that at a minimum, Quinn has re-invigorated the topic. It also strikes me that the piece is very much a faith-promoting article.