Jerald R. Johansen, Bountiful, Utah: Horizon Publishers, 1998, paperback, 6x9", 183 pages
Among the canonized Latter-day Saint doctrinal sources, there is no book with more profound insights into the truths of eternity than the Pearl of Great Price. Truly it is a jewel among the scriptures. And among guides to understanding the ancient portions of that marvelous book, no light shines brighter than the enlightenment found in this valuable commentary.
This book deals primarily with the Pearl of Great Price books of Moses and Abraham. Recognizing that the writings of Joseph Smith are usually treated as the basis for studies in LDS Church history, the author has chosen to omit coverage of those portions in his book in order to consider the ancient writings in greater depth.
After giving a useful overview of the Pearl of Great Price, he reviews how these ancient books were received and published by the Church. He then moves back in time to study and draw meanings from the pre-mortal Council in Heaven, the creation of the earth, man's condition before the fall of Adam, and the significance of that fall. He explains the experiences of Adam and Eve and analyzes the first great apostasy which occured when their children rejected the gospel. A chapter considers the deeper roots of the black civilization. Another treats the prophet Enoch's panoramic vision of the world. The writings of Abraham are also treated in depth in a similar manner.
Recent research has opened up new understandings, and these matters are treated in the later chapters of the book. For instance, along with the writings of Abraham, Joseph Smith received another scroll containing the writings of Joseph of Egypt. The author discusses what is known concerning those writings.
He also deals with the recent discovery of the Egyptian Book of Breathings, telling how it was found, and presents interesting new insights on the Egyptian "endowment." A final chapter shows relationships between the LDS temple ceremony and the Egyptian papyri.
The writing shows the abilities of a competent teacher. Each chapter, for instance, ends with a detailed summary. A very detailed index makes the book especially easy to use. Horizon Publishers takes pleasure introducing this very useful and thought-provoking commentary, and highly recommends it to those who are seeking new insights and the latest findings on the ancient scriptures.
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