Groundwork: Studies in Theory and Scripture

Groundwork - BlocksJoseph Spencer and I are editing a new series of scholarly books for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship entitled Groundwork: Studies in Theory and Scripture.

In line with the official description, the series will test the richness of scripture as grounds for contemporary thought and the relevance of theory to the task of reading scripture. By drawing on a broad range of academic disciplines—including philosophy, theology, literary theory, political theory, social theory, economics, and anthropology—Groundwork books offer a deeper understanding of Mormon scripture and contemporary theory alike.

Books in this series, while of interest to a popular Mormon audience, are pitched primarily as scholarly contributions in Mormon Studies.

The first two volumes in the series are now available: a translation of Jad Hatem’s Postponing Heaven: The Three Nephites, the Bodhisattva, and the Mahdi and a second edition of Joseph Spencer’s own An Other Testament: On Typology.

Hatem’s book provides a comparative analysis, grounded in phenomenology, of messianic figures who (like the Three Nephites) postpone Heaven, sacrificially prolonging their lives for the benefit of humankind.

Spencer’s book offers a philosophically rigorous answer, grounded in epically close readings of Book of Mormon texts, to the question: how does the Book of Mormon want us to read the Book of Mormon?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share a series of posts that reflect on some of contributions made by these books to the future of Mormon Studies.

Both books are, I think, excellent models for the kind of work the series hopes to promote longterm.

And, more, if you are yourself working in this vein as a scholar, we would love to hear more about it. Please contact us.


  1. Hooray! This is really exciting :)

  2. Clark Goble says:

    Are there any significant changes to Another Testament?

  3. Adam Miller says:

    Clark, I believe the type was reset, a variety of corrections were made, and a new preface was added. The first edition (a hardcover with Salt Press) will be worth a mint some day, but this edition will be the scholarly standard going forward.

  4. Clark Goble says:

    I thought I had the Kindle version not the printed one. But I just checked and I do have the first edition hardcover. C’est la vie.

  5. This is exciting because I have a book that uses theory to show that if you accelerate the scriptures to near light speed, the scriptures will gain in mass and its internal clock will slow!

  6. Adam Miller says:

    Yes, that’s right, Steve. It’s called messianic time.

  7. Jason K. says:

    You guys crack me up.

  8. A Happy Hubby says:

    Does this have anything to do with time going so slow in High Priest weekly meeting? :-)

  9. Adam Miller says:

    Yes, High Priest group meetings often asymptotically approach eternity.

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