Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lehi in the Desert / The World of the Jaredites / There Were Jaredites, by Hugh Nibley

The convoluted title comes from the fact that this is three smaller books put together in one. I almost feel like they should get separate reviews, since they were so different, but that would triple the work this review required, so I'll just give each its own paragraph.

The first book was great. It was very interesting reading. It was full of historical evidence that the way people behave in Arabia is exactly how the Book of Mormon says Lehi and his family behaved when they were in Arabia, and nearly all of these sources would have been unavailable to a 19th-century farmboy. I really enjoyed the fleshing out of a more complete picture of what that journey would have looked like.

The second book was great, as well. It goes through the historical sources to outline what the life of ancient Asian nomads looked like, and shows that it was exactly how the Jaredites are said to have behaved. It also details the differences between the Jaredites and the Nephites, differences that wouldn't make sense if they were two invented groups doing the same thing written by the same guy.

The third book was a little weak. It basically reviews epic literature to show that there are common elements to all epic literature, postulates that these commonalities must be based on the reality of the ancient world, and then shows that the Book of Ether fits into this pattern of epic literature. It was made more interesting by the fact that I was concurrently reading The Iliad, but otherwise it was a little dry.

Rating: six out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

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