Old Testament Revision 2
Old Testament Revision 2, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–5 Apr. 1831 and late July 1832–July 1833; handwriting of , , and ; 119 pages; CCLA.The Bible revision manuscripts remained in JS’s possession throughout his life—except during a brief period in 1838 and another in 1839. Upon the death of JS, the manuscript was in possession of his wife for over twenty years, until 1867 when she gave it to her son in order for the RLDS Church to publish The Holy Scriptures.Note: The transcript of Old Testament Revision 2 presented here is used with generous permission of the Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center. It was published earlier, with some differences in style, in Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds., Joseph Smith's New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004), 583–851.
In June 1830, JS and began recording a revelation related to Moses and other prominent Old Testament figures. (See Visions of Moses, June 1830 [Moses 1].) Over the next three years, this work expanded into what is now designated the Book of Moses and a complete revelatory re-reading of the Bible, an endeavor that came to be known as JS’s “New Translation,” or Bible revision. Initially, JS and his scribes, including Cowdery, , , and , created a sixty-one-page manuscript containing a narrative account of the visions of Moses and a revised version of the Old Testament book of Genesis, from the beginning to chapter 24, verse 41. This manuscript is currently designated Old Testament Revision 1.JS set aside work on the new translation of the Old Testament when instructed in a March 1831 revelation to instead begin work on New Testament texts. (Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:60–61].) Shortly thereafter, was directed by revelation to “write & keep a regulal [regular] history & assist my servant Joseph in Transcribing all things which shall be given him.” (Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47:1].) Among other undertakings, he proceeded to create a duplicate copy of the existing sixty-one-page Old Testament manuscript. This second manuscript, featured here, is now designated Old Testament Revision 2. At the same time, JS commenced work on the New Testament and continued until July 1832 (Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832), resulting in two manuscripts, currently designated as New Testament Revision 1 and New Testament Revision 2.After the completion of his new translation of the New Testament in late July 1832, JS resumed his revision of the Old Testament, now assisted by as scribe. When this work resumed, it was ’s copy, Old Testament Revision 2, that became the working manuscript for the rest of the Old Testament. A year later, Frederick G. Williams noted the completion of work on the text, writing at the end of Malachi, “Finished on the 2d of July 1833.”Old Testament Revision 2 contains 119 pages. The first fifty-nine pages contain ’s copy of Old Testament Revision 1. At first, JS continued his earlier practice of having entire verses written out in the manuscript to record a change. After several pages, however, he switched to a procedure that he had adopted during his translation work on the New Testament. Rather than record an entire verse, JS marked his copy of the Bible as he read in it, indicating where a change should be made. In the manuscript, wrote the scripture reference and the specifics of the revisions, thus saving time and space. In effect, the notations made in JS’s Bible, coupled with his scribes’ inscriptions in Old Testament Revision 2, now constituted the revision project.In total, JS made changes to about 1,300 Old Testament verses (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 5). The introduction to Old Testament Revision 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website notes some of the significant passages in the Book of Moses and JS’s revision of Genesis chapters 1–24. Some of the more prominent revisions, clarifications, and corrections JS incorporated into Old Testament Revision 2 included important material related to Joseph of Egypt added to the latter chapters in Genesis; a clarification in Exodus regarding the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart; and additions to Isaiah 29 foretelling the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 589).Note: The transcript of Old Testament Revision 2 presented here is used with generous permission of the Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center. It was published earlier, with some differences in style, in Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds., Joseph Smith's New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004), 583–851.