In God's Image and Likeness: Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Book of Moses:
The stories of the Grand Councils in Heaven, the Creation, the Fall, and the revelation of the Plan of Salvation to mankind are foundational to LDS doctrine. As it turns out, they are also the focus of a vast ancient literature by Jewish commentators, Islamic scholars, and early Christians, as well as the nexus of perennial controversies about science and religion.
This volume contains the most comprehensive commentary ever published on the beautiful and doctrinally rich early chapters of the book of Moses, combining prophetic insights, excerpts from ancient texts, current scientific perspectives, and up-to-date biblical scholarship—all presented from a perspective of faith.
Each section of the book is prefaced by an overview illuminating major themes and issues. This is followed by the text of each chapter of scripture, accompanied by a detailed phrase-by-phrase commentary designed to give the modern reader both an understanding of the plain sense of the words as well as their significance in context. Based on the first complete transcriptions of the original manuscripts of the Joseph Smith Translation, significant textual variants are identified and discussed.
Of special interest to LDS readers is the light that the book of Moses sheds on temple worship. A detailed study of this book of scripture in conjunction with ancient and modern sources suggests striking parallels with temple themes. Insights on these topics from LDS scripture and prophets, as well as relevant extracts from the works of Hugh Nibley and other religious scholars, historians, philosophers, scientists, literary specialists, playwrights, musicians, and artists are found on nearly every page of the book.
The book also features an extensive annotated bibliography on ancient sources—including Near Eastern texts, early Old Testament manuscripts and translations, the Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish and early Christian texts, Nag Hammadi and Gnostic writings, and primary documents from the Zoroastrian, Mandaean, Manichaean, and Islamic religious traditions. An additional highlight is the collection of more than a hundred carefully chosen color and black-and-white figures and illustrations relating to the text—themselves also the subject of detailed commentary.
The central message of the book of Moses is not revealed in its stories of the Creation and the Fall, as essential as these accounts may be, but rather in its invitation to join the divine pattern whereby we may come to fully reflect God's image and likeness. This wondrous work of scripture has been expressly written to "call [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
Margaret Barker, former President of the Society for Old Testament Study; Methodist local preacher; prolific author of studies reconstructing the background of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament:
"This is not just a book for Mormons. Dr. Bradshaw draws on a wide range of material from many cultures and eras: Jewish, Christian and Muslim. He shows how to read and understand the stories of a prephilosophical culture, and reveals them as sophisticated insights into the human condition. He takes as his starting point the Genesis material in Mormon tradition, and then sets it in a wider context than many would have thought possible, exploring the human and spiritual state of humanity, the nature of our knowledge about the creation, the nature of revelation itself. He has wise words on the creationism debate. This remarkable book makes an important contribution to understanding not only the material in Genesis, but also the way in which that heritage has been shared among all the Peoples of the Book."
David R. Seely, Professor of Ancient Scripture, Brigham Young University; co-author of Solomon's Temple: Myth and History and Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem:
"Attempting to match the cosmic scope of the vision of Moses, this wide-ranging and comprehensive commentary brings to the text of the Book of Moses a stimulating collection of scholarship from many disciplines and a wealth of stunning artistic and literary images. The reader will find in this volume much thought-provoking discussion about the doctrines that are central to the Gospel: the Godhead, Creation, the Fall, the Atonement, and the role of the Temple and its teachings in bringing to pass "the immortality and eternal life of man."
David H. Bailey, Chief Technologist, Computational Research Department, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; author of several articles on science and Mormonism:
"In this book, Jeff Bradshaw analyzes LDS scriptures from the perspective of a professional scholar and scientist. The result is a uniquely modern and honest treatment with considerable material that has not appeared before. Of particular interest to me as a scientist is the book's detailed analysis of the creation scriptures in light of modern scientific knowledge. The book is lavishly illustrated with works taken from the world's treasury of religious art. It is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to understand this important aspect of modern Mormonism."
S. Kent Brown, Emeritus Professor of Ancient Scripture and Former Director of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University; co-author of The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary:
"Dr. Bradshaw has succeeded in weaving a most interesting tapestry of comment on the book of Moses, drawing upon ancient and modern sources that form a warp and weft that invite reflection. He shines a light on both bright and dim threads of this important text that, in its own way, draped the Prophet Joseph and his contemporaries."
Richard J. Ingebretsen, Research Professor in the Department of Physics and Clinical Instructor in the Department of Medicine, University of Utah; author of Joseph Smith and Astronomy:
"The Pearl of Great Price provides a greater understanding of astronomy, the stars and the origins of the universe. Bradshaw's commentary is an inspiring work that helps bridge the gap between science and religion. It helps to unlock the great teachings of the inspired prophets who peered into the ancient night skies."
E. Douglas Clark, International Policy Director for United Families International; author of The Blessings of Abraham:
"As part of the Pearl of Great Price, the book of Moses is truly a treasure-trove, and Jeff Bradshaw's encyclopedic exploration thereof contains a contagious enthusiasm as it digs, probes, examines, reflects, speculates, and appreciates. The open-minded search for meaning drawing on a variety sources and disciplines is imbued with special respect for the insights from latter-day revelation, making this a resource of rich and unique value for Latter-day Saints."
Kevin L. Barney, editor of Footnotes to the New Testament for Latter-day Saints, author of many articles on LDS scripture:
"Bradshaw has drawn from an extensive array of sources, both LDS and non-LDS, in crafting this new and enlightening commentary on the first part of the book of Moses."
Trent Stephens, Professor of Anatomy and Embryology, Idaho State University; co-author of Who are the Children of Lehi? DNA and the Book of Mormon and Evolution and Mormonism: A Quest for Understanding:
"... A must read for any serious student of the Pearl of Great Price. I was delighted by the use of fine art in the manuscript and the extensive reference work."