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BYU will host Church History Symposium in Provo, Salt Lake City March 7-8

“Approaching Antiquity: Joseph Smith’s Study of the Ancient World”

The Brigham Young University Church History Symposium, “Approaching Antiquity: Joseph Smith’s Study of the Ancient World,” will be held Thursday, March 7, at Brigham Young University in Provo and Friday, March 8, at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City.  

Participants will learn how Joseph Smith’s studies of the ancient world affected his prophetic development. Admission is free and open to the public. No reservations are needed to attend the event.

In conjunction with the symposium, L. Tom Perry Special Collections at the Harold B. Lee Library has displayed several rare editions of the Book of Mormon on level 1. This collection includes Books of Mormon from 1830 and 1840, as well as a 1911 edition that contains James E. Talmage’s edits for the edition published in 1920. The exhibit also features manuscripts and various prints of the Book of Mormon from Yale University and University of Illinois, among others.

The symposium will begin Thursday in the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium at 9 a.m. and continue until 4:30 p.m. The keynote address at 9 a.m. will be given by Richard L. Bushman, Gouverneur Morris professor of history emeritus at Columbia University. It will be followed by papers addressing Joseph Smith’s reading of ancient Jewish and Christian texts, his interaction with the scholars of his day and his interest in the ancient Americas.

Thursday’s plenary session will begin at 7 p.m. in the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium with remarks by Elder Steven E. Snow of the Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a plenary address by David F. Holland, professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The symposium will continue Friday at the Conference Center Little Theater from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will feature papers addressing Joseph Smith’s study of the Bible, contemporary biblical commentaries and biblical languages, and his relationship to 19th-century egyptology.

The event is sponsored by the BYU Religious Studies Center, Continuing Education, the Department of Church History and Doctrine and the Church History Library.

For more information, visit churchhistorysymposium.byu.edu or contact Andrea Ramsey at (801) 422-3896 or andrea.ramsey@byu.edu .

Writer: Hwa Lee

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