People of Paradox Symposium

Terryl Givens’ new book, People of Paradox, provocatively explores how distinctive features of Mormon faith are expressed in Mormon culture. Times and Seasons has decided to hold a symposium to review it, and to take up the conversation it begins. The symposium will include reviews by several T&S bloggers and one outside reviewer, reflections on the book by the author, and selective responses to the reviews by the author. Julie has already posted her review. I will add links to other items in the symposium to this post, below, as they appear over the next few days.

T&S symposium contents: (more on the way)
Julie’s Review
Rosalynde’s Review
Richard Oman’s Review
Reflections by the Author
Nate’s Review

Outside links of interest:
Oxford University Press book description
Givens’ description on his web page
Review by Salon (pretty interesting; don’t be put off by the part about vampires)
Oxford UP blog entry
Review at Faith Promoting Rumor
Advance excerpt of the book at Religion & Ethics News Weekly
Page 99 excerpt at The Page 99 Test
Praise at Religion in American History blog
Interesting quotation at

8 comments for “People of Paradox Symposium

  1. Well, I for one really hope that at least one of the reviews highlights what was, for me, one of the exciting points of the book: Reading the dance chapter and having a sudden realization, and saying to myself,

    “A-ha! That’s where it all came from. The whole riff in _The Mormons_ sounded a little too good to be truly an extemporaneous rambling. And it wasn’t really just off-the-cuff after all. Poor Helen Whitney ran into a scholar with a book in page proofs, asked an innocuous question, and inadvertently got half a chapter dropped onto her. That explains the mystery.”

    Old Man Givens used glowing paint to disguise himself as the ghost to scare away tourists, so that he could buy the theme park for himself. And no one knew of the crude oil underneath the old roller coaster. He would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.

  2. I’ve been enjoying your symposium so far (thanks for the invitation…maybe I’ll even read the book!).

    I went to Amazon to look at the book’s table of contents and found two reviews…one four star and someone gave it one star because they couldn’t read the type (which looks fine to me from the sample pages) and from your comments here it probably deserves more than 2.5 stars. I haven’t read the book and can’t review it but perhaps some of you who have read it could review it.

  3. Yeah, one of the first things I noted about the book itself was that the font was smaller than usual for a book. Once I got reading it didn’t really bother me, though.

  4. I have been waiting for this symposium and hoping it would come. Times and Seasons, IMO, is at its very best when its several thoughtful bloggers and guests break free from bite-sized posts and really get into a good analysis (what ever happened to 12 Questions? I loved that). Maybe that just means I don’t like blogs, and tend to like blogs when they don’t act like blogs.

    The Rough Stone Rolling Symposium was terrific, and this is already shaping up to be very interesting. To be sure, Givens’ book is on par with the few recent texts (RSR, Prince’s McKay bio) that warrant extended, serious consideration on T&S because of their groundbreaking–or shattering–analysis. Thanks to T&S from a usuallly silent reader for arranging this symposium–I’d love to see more like this. And many thanks to Professor Givens for interrupting his admirable productivity to participate here.

    Also, I love Wilfried’s posts.

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