A Commentary on the JST of 1 Corinthians
26 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 18, 2018
Over the decades in youth Sunday School classes, Seminary and Institute courses, adult Gospel Doctrine classes, BYU Religious Education courses, and in other venues, I have heard many hundreds of students make a comment in class based on Joseph Smith’s revision of the Bible, officially known in the Church as the “Joseph Smith Translation” (hereafter “JST”). And so far as I can recall, in 100% of those instances the person making the comment simply assumed that the JST emendation of the biblical text represented—in English—the original text of the passage. Such a simplistic understanding is perhaps understandable, as we never devote a lesson specifically to explaining the JST and what it represents, and so students are left to their own devices in trying to understand its significance.
Actual scholars of LDS scripture do not make this simplistic assumption, but somehow we have failed to communicate to our students the breadth of possibilities inherent in any particular JST emendation.
In this paper I propose to attempt a remedy to this situation, first by proposing a paradigm of 14 different categories into which JST emendations may fall, and second by illustrating the application of that paradigm based on a review of every single JST emendation in a book of scripture. The book I have selected for this purpose is 1 Corinthians. By my count, 63 verses of 1 Corinthians are emended by the JST. The 16 chapters of that book contain a total of 437 verses, and so the JST modifies about 14.4% of the verses in the text. By analyzing every JST emendation in the book, we can gain a better sense for the types of things going on in the JST project.
Keywords: Joseph Smith Translation, 1 Corinthians
JEL Classification: Z12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation