100-Year Anniversary of Jesus the Christ

LDS Book Reviews

Jesus The Christ – Study GuideJTC_book


Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Thomas A. Wayment have written a study guide to James E. Talmage’s Jesus The Christ commemorating the 100-year anniversary of its publication. They presented an overview during Education Week (2015). I picked up the book and will share some thoughts from their writings.

If you’ve ever read Jesus The Christ (JTC), one notable behavior that many seem to share is the use of a dictionary to read the text. Holzapfel and Wayment actually put a glossary in the back of the book to save time. According to John Talmage (son), his father never consulted a dictionary during the writing of his book. He felt that if he didn’t know the word completely, he did not want to misrepresent by looking it up in a dictionary.

In 1904, the First Presidency asked Br. Talmage to deliver a series of lectures on the life of Jesus Christ and to publish those lectures. In 1911, he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve. He started writing Jesus the Christ in 1914. The delay was due to other publications, constant interruptions, and a very busy schedule. Ultimately, it was decided that the Temple offered the best place for him to finish the work. He wrote the complete manuscript in less than 8 months.

Elder Talmage accepted other scholarly approaches to the scriptures and drew heavily from scholars in many fields. There have been many new discoveries since 1915 and the study guide highlights new insights and thoughts that Elder Talmage did not have access to.

For example, Capernaum excavations did not commence until 1968. Peter’s house has since been discovered and the Dead Sea Scrolls have been discovered and translated. The publication and use of the JST along with other discoveries were not available.

To be continued (TBC)

Published by

Richard Himmer

Author, PhD in Organizational Psychology.

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