Saturday, July 12, 2008

Joseph Smith Papers

Description: The Joseph Smith Papers will be a comprehensive edition of extant Joseph Smith documents featuring complete and accurate transcriptions with both textual and contextual annotation.  The work will be published in approximately 30 volumes comprised of six series: Journals, Documents, Revelations and Translations, Histories, Legal and Business Records, and Administrative Records.  Once published, the Papers will be an essential resource for scholars and serious students of the life and work of Joseph Smith, as well as of early Mormonism and nineteenth-century religion in general.

Legitimacy: Scholarly legitimacy is given first priority in the creation of this comprehensive edition of Joseph Smith's extant documents.  Significant resources have been dedicated to assure the project's scope includes all available documents, with each text presented in its entirety with no editorial omissions.  Extensive care is also taken in the editing to present verbatim transcripts.  These are the raw materials from which histories can be written -- the original documents from which other authors may draw their own conclusions.  For example, the Journals series presents an unaltered and unabridged transcript of each of smith's known journals--a more accurate transcription than has ever been published before.  In addition to the text undergoing three stages of verification, each volume is reviewed by scholars who specialize in religion and documentary editing.

Editorial Method: A description of the project's editorial procedures and sample transcriptions were sent to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission for assessment.  After extensive peer review by independent scholars, the commission granted its endorsement.  This endorsement affirms The Joseph Smith Papers meet professional documentary editing standards for transcription and historical scholarship.

Publication Schedule: The first volume, to be published this fall [no indication of what year], will be the first of the Journals series and will contain Joseph Smith's journal entries for the years 1832-1839.  The second and third volumes will be published by spring 2009 [sic]: one from the Revelations and Translations series, the other from the Histories series.  Thereafter, two or three volumes will be published each year until the project's completion.

Publisher: The Joseph Smith Papers will be the first work to be produced by The Church Historian's Press, a new publishing imprint created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints specifically for the production of scholarly and document-based works created under the direction of the Church historian and recorder [sic].  Elder Marlin K.  Jensen, who serves as Church historian and recorder [sic], has said the inauguration of The Church Historian's Press, together with The Joseph Smith Papers project, "underscores the great value the Church has always placed on its history.  This is an invitation for anyone interested in the history of the Church to read the foundational documents related to its beginning and development."

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