Volume 4 represents the central task of the Book of Mormon critical text project namely, the attempt to recover the original English-language text of the Book of Mormon.
When completed, volume 4 will analyze the entire text of the Book of Mormon, from the title page to the end of Moroni and will consider every significant variant in the text as well as many potential variants.
Last August, part 1 (covering up through 2 Nephi 10) was published by BYU / FARMS. This coming August, part 2 (covering from 2 Nephi 11 through Mosiah 16) will be published.
Part 2 of volume 4 includes a definitive treatment of the one passage that has caused more debate than any other in the history of the Book of Mormon text – namely, should 2 Nephi 30:6 read “a white and a delightsome people” or “a pure and a delightsome people”?
In addition, part 2 provides striking evidence that the vocabulary of the original text of the Book of Mormon actually dates from the 1500s and 1600s, not from the 1800s. See, for instance, the discussion regarding the phrase “the pleasing bar of God” (in Jacob 6:13) and the use of the verb "require" in Enos 1:18 (“thy fathers have also required of me this thing”).
Volumes 1 and 2 of the critical text were published in May 2001. Volume 1 contains a detailed transcription of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon (the manuscript written down by scribes as Joseph Smith dictated the text). Volume 2 contains a transcription of the printer’s manuscript, the copy made from the original manuscript and taken to Grandin’s print shop in Palmyra New York to set the type for the first edition of the Book of Mormon (1830).