PROVO — The Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center has honored dean emeritus and religious scholar Robert J. Matthews' 80th birthday by publishing a collection of essays inspired by his wide-ranging interests and academic achievements.

The book, "A Witness for the Restoration: Essays to Honor Robert J. Matthews," features chapters written by Matthews' colleagues on various topics including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' history and doctrine, the Bible and the Book of Mormon. It also includes a chronological bibliography of Matthews' scholarly publications.

The book's editors are Kent P. Jackson and Andrew C. Skinner. Chapter authors include Jackson, S. Kent Brown, Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, among others.

Matthews joined the ancient scripture faculty at BYU in 1971 and spent 17 years as either department chairman or dean of religious education. He received the BYU Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching and Commitment to Adult Students and was awarded the Service to Continuing Education Award. He earned his bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctorate from BYU.

He played a major role in the inclusion of many vital parts of the Joseph Smith Translation in the church's publication of the King James Version of the Bible as well as in the publication of "The Encyclopedia of Mormonism." In addition, Matthews has a long history of church service, including serving as the first president of the Mount Timpanogos Temple.