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Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophetby John G Turner
Synopses & Reviews
Brigham Young was a rough-hewn craftsman from New York whose impoverished and obscure life was electrified by the Mormon faith. He trudged around the United States and England to gain converts for Mormonism, spoke in spiritual tongues, married more than fifty women, and eventually transformed a barren desert into his vision of the Kingdom of God. While previous accounts of his life have been distorted by hagiography or polemical exposé, John Turner provides a fully realized portrait of a colossal figure in American religion, politics, and westward expansion.
After the 1844 murder of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, Young gathered those Latter-day Saints who would follow him and led them over the Rocky Mountains. In Utah, he styled himself after the patriarchs, judges, and prophets of ancient Israel. As charismatic as he was autocratic, he was viewed by his followers as an indispensable protector and by his opponents as a theocratic, treasonous heretic.
Under his fiery tutelage, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defended plural marriage, restricted the place of African Americans within the church, fought the U.S. Army in 1857, and obstructed federal efforts to prosecute perpetrators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. At the same time, Young's tenacity and faith brought tens of thousands of Mormons to the American West, imbued their everyday lives with sacred purpose, and sustained his church against adversity. Turner reveals the complexity of this spiritual prophet, whose commitment made a deep imprint on his church and the American Mountain West.
Brigham Young was a rough-hewn New York craftsman whose impoverished life was electrified by the Mormon faith. Turner provides a fully realized portrait of this spiritual prophet, viewed by followers as a protector and by opponents as a heretic. His pioneering faith made a deep imprint on tens of thousands of lives in the American Mountain West.
The legendary Akiva ben Yosef has fascinated Jews for centuries. One of and arguably the most important of the Tannaim, or early Jewish sages, he lived during a crucial era in the development of Judaism as we know it today, and his theology played a major part in the development of Rabbinic Judaism. Reuven Hammer details Akivaandrsquo;s life as it led to a martyrandrsquo;s death and delves into the rich legacy Akiva left us.
That legacy played an extraordinarily important role in helping the Jewish people survive difficult challenges and forge a vibrant religious life anew and it continues to influence Jewish law, ethics, and theology even today. Akivaandrsquo;s contribution to the development of Oral Torah cannot be overestimated, and in this first book written in English about the sage since 1936, Hammer reassesses Akivaandrsquo;s role from the period before the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE until the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE. He also assesses new findings about the growth of early Judaism, the reasons why Akiva was so outspoken about andldquo;Christian Jews,andrdquo; the influence of Hellenism, the Septuagint, and the canonization of the Hebrew Bible. Ultimately, Hammer shows that Judaism without Akiva would be a very different religion.
2013 Francis Armstrong Madsen Best Utah History Book Award, given by the Utah State Historical Society
About the Author
John G. Turner is Assistant Professor of History at the University of South Alabama.
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