Maxwell Institute Formed, Will House BYU Studies

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    In 2006 Brigham Young University formed the new Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYU, which will now oversee the scholarly journal BYU Studies.

    In 1959 BYU Studies began publishing a quarterly journal containing the work of a community of LDS scholars from a range of disciplines. BYU Studies has published hundreds of articles that bring Latter-day Saint perspectives to academic subjects using scholarly insights to elucidate gospel topics.

    “We live in dynamic times,” states current editor in chief John Welch on the BYU Studies Web site. “The gospel gives needed orientation as the world faces a steady stream of new challenges. … BYU Studies hopes to fill a helpful and supporting role in these eternal purposes.”

    The Neal A. Maxwell Institute, established by the BYU Board of Trustees, aims to organize, produce, and disseminate scholarship on ancient scripture and religious history and promote the study, illumination, preservation, and accessibility of religious texts and ancient scriptural sources. The Maxwell Institute also aims to build bridges to other cultures and peoples by contributing to scholarship in many disciplines and establishing contacts with scholars at universities and centers of learning worldwide.

    In March 2006 the institute’s name was changed from the Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts (ISPART) to the Neal A. Maxwell Institute.

    “By renaming ISPART, BYU honors the memory and life’s work of Elder Maxwell,” said Elder Cecil O. Samuelson of the Seventy, BYU president, in a news release. “This change firmly sets the future direction of the institute, which is to promote profound scholarship supporting the restored gospel of Jesus Christ—something Elder Maxwell cared about deeply.”

    Andrew Skinner, former dean of religious education at BYU, heads the Maxwell Institute, which includes the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative (METI), and the Center for Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts (CPART).

    FARMS was founded in 1979 and is currently directed by S. Kent Brown. For more than 25 years, FARMS has been conducting research and publishing books and periodicals to further scholarship, make friends for BYU and the Church, provide educational tools and resources, and defend the faith. METI is led by Daniel C. Peterson, and CPART by Kristian Heal.