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Book review: 'Beholding the Tree of Life' shares Jewish perspective of The Book of Mormon

“Beholding the Tree of Life: A Rabbanic Approach to the Book of Mormon” is by Bradley J. Kramer.
“Beholding the Tree of Life: A Rabbanic Approach to the Book of Mormon” is by Bradley J. Kramer.
Greg Kofford Books

"BEHOLDING THE TREE OF LIFE: A Rabbinic Approach to The Book of Mormon," by Bradley J. Kramer, Greg Kofford Books, $21.95, 225 pages (nf)

Bradley J. Kramer, an alumn of Brigham Young University and returned missionary, brilliantly wrote "Beholding the Tree of Life: A Rabbinic Approach to the Book of Mormon." It transports the serious student to an internal yeshiva, teaching well how to study by reading The Book of Mormon through a Jewish lens.

Kramer delves into the depths of The Book of Mormon by focusing on the Jewish literary qualities evident throughout and teaches the reader how to study more carefully to be able to both catch and ponder these layers.

"Beholding the Tree of Life" is divided into two sections, and the discussion includes a glossary of Jewish literary terms, a scripture index and an extensive bibliography for further study. The first section, "Contemplating the Branches," teaches how to read and study, while the second section, "Appreciating the Roots," teaches how to study using the lens of the Hebrew scriptures that include the Talmud, the Mishnah and the Tosefta. This shares new understanding and meaning to the context of ancient times.

While the content is appropriate readers of any age, the academic level necessitates an advanced reader. However, Kramer presents his material in such a way that even a novice can get started with this deeper study, while those already interested in the Jewish context or literary analysis will also gain new insights and build new study habits.

"Beholding the Tree of Life" can help readers slow down, consider what they are reading and ponder their study of The Book of Mormon with insight into the Jewish context from which it comes.

The 225-page volume is part of the Contemporary Studies in Scripture Series from Greg Kofford Books.

Emily Christensen is an LDS chaplain in Oklahoma. Her doctorate is in marriage and family therapy and she is pursuing a second degree in Hebrew and Jewish studies. Her blog is and her email is