Shon Hopkin and the Book of Mormon Academy, based at BYU, have put together a book that explores, in Hopkin’s words, a prophet with "a very small word count but a huge imprint" in the Book of Mormon in "Abinadi: He Came Among Them in Disguise." The contributors explore the life, person, context and message of Abinadi in a way that engages the reader and extends their understanding of the role of this prophet.
Abinadi is a figure from the Book of Mormon about whom not much is known. He is the prophet who taught the people of King Noah, escaped and then disguised himself to continue to teach and who influences Alma. This book takes the narrative in such a way that readers come away with a greater understanding and appreciation for his contribution.
The writers use a variety of perspectives through which they explore Abinadi. There are 10 contributions that are divided into four sections that look at literary, in context with the Bible, cultural-historical and theological.
The approach the book takes is laudable and is a template for textual study of figures in all religious texts. This book provides the context for Abinadi, but also helps the reader appreciate his importance in their own context today.
Particularly of note are the two exceptional appendices. The first is an annotated version of the text about Abinadi from the Book of Mormon; the second is a bibliography of works about Abinadi. These are a rich resource and will be of particular help when finishing the book to consider "what next?"
Not every chapter will appeal, but this book is excellent in the sense that it engages the reader in deep thinking about Abinadi and issues surrounding the Book of Mormon.
In addition to Hopkin, the contributors include Jared W. Ludlow, Daniel L. Belnap, Frank F. Judd Jr., John Hilton III, Nicholas J. Frederick, Kerry Hull, Mark Alan Wright, Amy Easton-Flake and Joseph M. Spenser.
The Book of Mormon Academy was organized in 2014 to help support research of the Book of Mormon across different fields.