A fine line divides scripture from non-scripture, writes Robert M. Price in American Apocrypha. There are books that are not in the Bible that are as powerful and authoritative as anything in the canon. At the same time, much of the Bible was written centures after the events it narrates by scribes using fictitious names. Clearly, the hallmark of scripture is not historical accuracy but rather its spiritual impact on individuals; exclusion from the canon is not reason to dismiss a book as heretical.
Consider the Book of Mormon, first published in 1830. The nature of this volume—in particular its claim to antiquity—is the theme of nine ground-breaking essays in American Apocrypha. Thomas W. Murphy discusses the Book of Mormon’s view that American Indians are descendants of ancient Hebrews. In recent DNA tests, Native Americans have proven to be of Siberian ancestry and not of ancient Jewish or Middle Eastern descent. Nor is the Book of Mormon a traditional translation from an ancient document, writes David P. Wright, as indicated by the underlying Hebrew in the book’s Isaiah passages. Other contributors to American Apocrypha explore the evolution of ideas in the Book of Mormon during the course of its dictation.
Editors Dan Vogel and Brent Metcalfe have chosen essays by authors who represent a wide range of disciplines and perspectives: Robert Price edits the Journal of Higher Criticism; Thomas Murphy chairs the anthropology department at Edmonds Community College; David Wright teaches Hebrew Bible at Brandeis University. They are joined by Scott C. Dunn; Edwin Firmage, Jr.; George D. Smith; and Susan Staker—all of whom explore what can be reasonably asserted about the Book of Mormon as scripture.
In this manifestly practical book, Richard Hendel has invited book and journal designers he admires to describe how they approach and practice the craft of book design. Designers with interesting and varied careers in the field, who work with contemporary technology in today’s publishing environment, describe their methods of managing the challenges presented by specific types of books, presented side by side with numerous images from those books. Not an instruction manual but a unique, on-the-job, title page–to–index guide to the ways that professional British and American designers think about design, Aspects of Contemporary Book Design continues the conversation that began with Hendel’s 1998 classic, On Book Design.
Contributing designers who focus on solving problems posed by nonfiction, fiction, cookbooks, plays, poetry, illustrated books, and journals include Cherie Westmoreland, Amy Ruth Buchanan, Mindy Basinger Hill, Nola Burger, Ron Costley, Kristina Kachele, Barbara Wiedemann, and Sue Hall, as well as a host of other designers, typesetters, editors, and even an author. Abbey Gaterud attempts to define the conundrum that the e-book presents to designers; Kent Lew describes the evolution of his Whitman typeface family; Charles Ellertson reflects upon the vital relationship between the typesetter and the designer; and Sean Magee writes about the uneasy alliance between designers and editors. In an extended essay that is as frank and funny as it is illuminating, Andrew Barker takes the reader deep into the morass—excavating the fine, finer, and finest details of working through a series design.
At the heart of this copiously illustrated book is the enduring need for design that clarifies the way for the reader, whether on the printed page or on the computer screen. Blending his roles as designer, author, interviewer, and editor, Hendel reaches across both sides of the drafting table—both real and virtual—to create a book that will appeal to aspiring and seasoned book designers as well as writers, editors, and readers who want to know more about the visual presentation of the written word.