Brant Gardner’s article, “Mormon’s Editorial Method and Meta-Message,” the subject of my previous post, has an intriguing statement about Fourth Nephi in the Book of Mormon being a “Seinfeld book” because it is about nothing – but a very important “nothing.” Gardner has extended comments about this unique book and what it does for the text. Here’s how he introduces that section of his paper:
The best place to see how Mormon used his whole text to convince us that Jesus is the Messiah is in 4 Nephi. The book of 4 Nephi has become one of my favorite books because it is so absolutely unique in Mormon’s work. I call it the “Seinfeld book,” because it is a book about nothing. Every other book we have received from Mormon’s hand was filled with important events and long speeches clarifying important gospel principles. 4 Nephi has none of this. Where Mormon’s typical editorial method was to string together large quotations from his source material with a minimalist linking text, 4 Nephi has no identifiable quotations from his source plates. 4 Nephi is Mormon’s intentional book about nothing. In the very absence of content, it reveals how Mormon expected that the entire structure of his opus would convince us that Jesus is the Messiah.
I would appreciate your reactions to his analysis of 4th Nephi. Certainly interesting!