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Alma’s Wisdom-Poem to Helaman (Alma 37:35–37)

TitleAlma’s Wisdom-Poem to Helaman (Alma 37:35–37)
Publication TypeExcerpt
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsJorgensen, Bruce W.
Book TitlePerspectives on Mormon Theology: Scriptural Theology
Book Chapter6
PublisherGreg Kofford Books
Place PublishedSalt Lake City
KeywordsAlma the Younger; Helaman (Son of Alma the Younger); Hermeneutics; Poetry

Not all of the occasions for my efforts at scriptural interpretation are as specifically “pastoral” or “ecclesial” as this one was, nor as were the occasions for the two dozen sermons I wrote notes or texts for during those three years. But all in some way, to some degree, are rooted in my community at the time, respond to a call within or from that community, and are offered to that community. That is the first thing that “Mormon scriptural hermeneutics” means to me. Were I not a member of a Mormon community and thus an heir of the texts it regards as holy scripture, I’m not at all sure I would have read, or would continue to read, those texts, nor that I would feel any impulse to write about them, much less publish anything I write about them. But I am a member and I read the scriptures, and I often respond to an explicit or implicit call to interpret and write about them. My published readings, so far, have all arisen in academic contexts that, because I teach at a Church-sponsored university, are strongly inflected by my community’s care for its sacred texts and its habits of using them.