For part 6 of volume 3 of the Book of Mormon Critical Text project, we take up what many may think is a mundane subject, namely, misspellings in the manuscripts and in the printed editions. This brief summary of the book will introduce the reader to three important questions regarding scribal misspellings in the manuscripts:
- First, did the 1830 typesetter adopt Oliver Cowdery’s misspellings in the manuscript when he set the text for the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon? In fact, is it true that spelling was undetermined in 1829-30 when the Book of Mormon was typeset?
- Second, just how good were the Book of Mormon scribes in doing their copywork? Who was the best speller, who was the most careful scribe, and how much better was John Gilbert, the typesetter for the 1830 edition?
- And third, can the misspellings tell us anything important about the Book of Mormon text, or are they just innocuous errors? In fact, are there cases of misspelling that have led to transmission errors in the history of the Book of Mormon text?
The answers to all three of these questions turn out to be crucial in doing critical text work on the Book of Mormon.