I see that the book has been announced, and has been getting some publicity. At least one of the advertisements claims that this is an update of my book A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri. Well, yes and no. The other book focused on the papyri and their relationship to the Book of Abraham. This one focuses on the Book of Abraham. So let's focus on some basic questions.
How are the books similar?
Both books will be informative to a scholarly audience but both are designed to be accessible to a non-scholarly audience. This means that I have tried to write it in a clear manner without scholarly jargon. Footnotes have been generally limited to direct quotations. Neither is terribly verbose.
How are the books different?
- The Introduction has fifteen more years of research behind it.
- The Introduction is focused on the Book of Abraham rather than the papyri, which is the subject more people are interested in.
- The Introduction is longer than the Guide. It has a different set of topics and covers more topics than the Guide did. It has about three times as many chapters.
- The Introduction provides annotated bibliography of works for further reading so that the reader has an idea of what might be hiding behind some of the mysterious titles in the bibliography.
What the book is not
This book is not a second edition of the Guide. There is some material in the Guide that is not covered in the Introduction. Where the two overlap, the Introduction is more up-to-date.
This book is not a fat scholarly tome that will necessarily answer every technical question about the Joseph Smith Papyri.
This book is not a commentary on the Book of Abraham. It follows the introduction genre that is generally well known and established in scholarly literature.
The book does deal with the facsimiles from the Book of Abraham, but this book is not a point by point analysis of the figures in the facsimiles. I have written that book but do not expect to ever see it appear in print.
Some other points
Over the last five years publication outlets for scholarly work on the Book of Abraham from a faithful perspective have mostly disappeared. I had about a five year backlog of research on the Book of Abraham that I had not published at that point. What I have been able to publish in scholarly venues has consequently slowed to a trickle. I now have an essentially ten year backlog of material that I have not been able to publish. This book is compatible with the unpublished research up to the time that the manuscript was closed.