This verse opens with a clear indication of (more…)
What seems to me to have been the most vital insight during the course of our discussions this week is the apparent structural parallel between the “conversions” of Alma and Korihor. Most vital: one can hang every other narrative, thematic, or linguistic connection between chapters 30-31 and chapter 32 on this insight. What this insight reveals is that Alma’s primary and guiding concern, in his sermon to the Zoramites, is to disambiguate these two structures. That is, Alma 32 might most profitably be read as a more or less systematic working out of how Alma’s conversion is structurally different from Korihor’s.
If this, then, focuses us forward, it also highlights what absolutely must not be missed in chapters 30-31: the terminological, thematic, and even narrative ties between these two chapters and the sermonic chapter that follows them are all rooted in the fact that there one finds so many clues, more or less unsystematically scattered about a narrative text, that are necessary for the work of the disambiguation undertaken in chapter 32. (more…)
Faith—since it is faith we are primarily hoping to have Alma 32 teach us about—has the last word in Alma 30-31, in fact, quite literally: the word “faith” does not appear in these two chapters at all until the very last word of the very last verse of chapter 31. That the word subsequently appears in chapters 32-34 some twenty-six times (by my count) highlights how really odd this singular appearance in chapters 30-31 is. Its placement as the very last word of these otherwise faith-less chapters sets up a kind of teleological reading (please don’t read anything metaphysical into the word “teleological” here!): Alma 30-31 not only can (in light of chapter 32’s heavy emphasis on faith), but also ought to (in light of the subtle teleology of Alma 30-31), be read as working toward the question of faith. (more…)