Contributions Sought for Completion of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley

The scholars and staff at the Maxwell Institute have energetically set the goal of finishing the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley within the next three years. March 27, 2010, will be the 100th anniversary of Hugh Nibley’s birthday, and we would like to have the approximately 20-volume set completed by that date. Under the direction of John W. Welch, general editor of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, various supplemental electronic releases and a series of conferences in 2010 focusing on the lasting legacies of Nibley’s scholarship are also planned.

Brother Nibley left several boxes of complicated, unpublished manuscripts that will result in the publication of at least one additional volume. Numerous articles that have been published elsewhere will appear in the remaining volumes of the Collected Works.

Editorial work has already begun on Brother Nibley’s final manuscript, One Eternal Round, which is being coauthored and prepared for publication by Professor Michael Rhodes and illustrated by Michael Lyon. One Eternal Round is the culmination of Nibley’s lifelong research on the Book of Abraham and the facsimiles, particularly Facsimile 2, the hypocephalus. This manuscript covers a wide range of topics that illuminate our understanding of the Book of Abraham and the plan of salvation. Nibley brings together a vast array of evidence supporting the authenticity of the subject matter in the Book of Abraham, including Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Classical, Apocryphal, medieval, Kabbalistic, and alchemical sources. Myth, ritual, ancient drama—all are woven together in Nibley’s inimitable way. There is also a groundbreaking chapter on the geometric and mathematical aspects of the hypocephalus.

One manuscript in the collection is appropriately called “The End of What?” This volume has its roots in a long typescript written by Nibley in the 1950s that has been recently discovered among his papers. It is a history of Christianity from the time of the New Testament to the time of the Restoration by Joseph Smith in the 19th century. It asks such questions as What did the early apostles expect to happen in the future? When did they think Jesus would come? What would the “end” be? and What would need to happen before the end? In typical Nibley style, this manuscript is wide-ranging, interesting, and well informed. It challenges some of the conventional wisdom in Christian history, and it offers a Mormon point of view on early Christianity and its developments.

Other materials that will likely appear in the Collected Works include some brief autobiographies, poetry and early essays, interviews and panels, book reviews, forewords in books, the ancient world, satire, pieces about the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham, early Christianity, personal essays, politics, Brigham Young, education, and temples.

The completion of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley will leave a lasting, foundational contribution to LDS scholarship on key scriptural and religious topics that will inform the studies and bless the lives of many students, readers, and scholars.

All readers and supporters of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and FARMS are invited to donate to this long-term, expensive project. If you are in a position to support this important effort with a gift, please contact Ed Snow at 801-422-9047 and ed_snow@byu.edu or mail your check payable to “The Maxwell Institute CWHN Project.” Readers everywhere are indebted to Brother Nibley, who gave very openly of his time and scholarship to everyone. Your generosity will help repay that debt and will preserve for future generations the groundbreaking work of Brother Nibley—one of the Church’s and world’s preeminent scholars and believers.