Repetitive Resumption

Often times in scripture the writer/editor inserts a comment for clarification. After their insertion they resume what they were saying before by repeating its elements. This is called Repetitive Resumption.

In the following example, the Lord speaks about feasts (v. 2) when the editor inserts information about the Sabbath, which was not a feast. (v. 3) After their insertion, they resume talk about feasts by restating what was said before their insertion. (v. 4)

2 [Subject] Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
3 [Insertion] Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.[Insertion Ended]
4 [Resume Subject] These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. [Elements Repeated] (Leviticus 23:2-4)

The Book of Mormon is replete with Repetitive Resumptions. In the following example, verse 6 is talking about Alma traveling to the city of Ammonihah. Verse 7 is an insertion about how they named their cities. And verse 8 is the repetitive resumption.

6 So that when he had finished his work at Melek he departed thence, and traveled three days’ journey on the north of the land of Melek; and he came to a city which was called Ammonihah.
7 Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them; and thus it was with the land of Ammonihah.
8 And it came to pass that when Alma had come to the city of Ammonihah he began to preach the word of God unto them. (Alma 8:6-8)

Merismus

A Merismus is a poetic device that exemplifies a totality between two words – a range of “everything inbetween.” Here is an example from the book of Joel:

28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (Joel 2)

The Book of Mormon likewise has Merismus all throughout. Here is an example:

44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. (Alma 11)

[Noel B. Reynolds, “Gospel Merisms in the Book of Mormon,” All Faculty Publications—1473, 2015, url: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/facpub/1473]

Leitwort

Leitwort is the intentional use of a word, over and over again to highlight a theme within a text. The story of Jonah is a good example of its use:

3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. (Jonah 1)

2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountain (Jonah 2)

Here is an example from The Book of Mormon:

6 Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.
7 Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them.
8 And now my sons, behold I have somewhat more to desire of you, which desire is, that ye may not do these things that ye may boast, but that ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, yea, which is eternal, and which fadeth not away; yea, that ye may have that precious gift of eternal life, which we have reason to suppose hath been given to our fathers.
9 O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world.
10 And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.
11 And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls.
12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. (Helaman 5)

Land

Following the pattern of the Bible, The Book of Mormon also uses the names of lands and cities interchangeably. Here is an example from the Old Testament:

1 See, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land. (Joshua 8)

In The Book of Mormon we see the same pattern, with the city and land of Zarahemla, which was named after the man Zarahemla. What should be noted is there were other cities within the boundaries of the larger. Here is an example from the Old Testament:

45 Ekron, with her towns and her villages. (Joshua 15)

Thus, when The Book of Mormon says that Jesus would be born in the “land” of Jerusalem, it is not the same thing as the “city” of Jerusalem as some have thought:

10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God. (Alma 7)

The city of Bethlehem is a mere stones throw from the city of Jerusalem, and was part of the “land of Jerusalem.”

Lake

If Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, using names where he lived in Western New York (Holley), he failed miserably to include the word “lake” as Western New York is filled with lakes, including the world renown “Great Lakes.”

The word “lake” never occurs in any of the 600+ geographic references in the Book of Mormon.

Strange, unless it was not fabricated.

Within the text of the Book of Mormon it makes sense, since the primary writers Mormon & Moroni never saw a salt water ocean and had no need to differentiate between it and fresh water bodies. This view gels with a geography model in Western New York, not Mesoamerica, the party line.

KJV

There is evidence that the Biblical passages cited in the Book of Mormon were translated from Hebrew, not copied from the King James Bible.1 Consider the passage from Isaiah 53:4 as quoted in Alma 7:11.

Not only is Alma’s rendering different from the KJV, it’s also different from Matthew’s version:

KJV – Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. (Isaiah 53:4)

Matthew – Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. (Matthew 8:17)

Alma – He will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. (Alma 7:11)

Masoretic Hebrew – Surely he has borne our pains and sicknesses. (Isaiah 53:4)

Background Information

There is a question whether the Brass Plates (containing Old Testament books) that Lehi’s family took with them from Israel were written in Hebrew, Egyptian, or both. Based on Alma 7:11, it would appear that at least the book of Isaiah was in Hebrew.

This example refutes Mormon apologists2 who blamed Joseph for the “grammatical errors” in the Book of Mormon. Dr. Royal Skousen refutes that explanation saying Joseph merely dictated an already translated English and those are not grammatical errors.3

This example above supports Skousen and the witnesses of the process – that Joseph never used a Bible, never copied from another source – he read what he saw in the Seer Stone or the Urim and Thummim.

William Tyndale

Not only is the Book of Mormon not based on the King James Version, but the King James Version itself is based on an earlier translation, that of William Tyndale:

There is also the possibility that the source for the biblical quotations in the Book of Mormon could come from other English Bibles (namely, ones published prior to the King James Version, beginning with Tyndale’s New Testament [from as early as 1526] and ending with the Geneva Bible and its various editions). Most of the phraseology of the King James Bible is dependent upon previous editions of the English Bible.12 In fact, as part of the critical text project I have discovered evidence (from variation in the use of the definite article the) that the compositors for the King James Bible set type from a minimally edited copy of an earlier edition of the English Bible. In fact, nearly all the English translations during the 1286s and early 1600s were minor revisions. Only Tyndale’s translation (of the New Testament and the first half of the Old Testament) and part of Matthew’s Bible (the second half of the Old Testament, translated by Miles Coverdale) represent fresh translations into English.13 Moreover, nearly all the famous passages for which the King James translation is praised can be found in these early English editions. Consequently, it is not immediately obvious that the passages quoted in the Book of Mormon are strictly from the King James Bible. (Royal Skousen, “Critical Methodology and the Text of the Book of Mormon,” FARMS Review: Volume – 6, Issue – 1, Pages: 121-44)

Time and extensive scholastic scrutiny have judged Tyndale the most gifted of the three translators. Dr Westcott (in his History of the English Bible) states that “The history of our English Bible begins with the work of Tyndale and not with that of Wycliffe.” The quality of his translations has also stood the test of time, coming relatively intact even into modern versions of the Bible. A. S. Herbert, Bible cataloguer, says of the Matthew Bible, “this version, which welds together the best work of Tyndale and Coverdale, is generally considered to be the real primary version of our English Bible”[9] upon which later editions were based, including the Geneva Bible and King James Version. Professor David Daniell recounts that, “New Testament scholars Jon Nielson[10] and Royal Skousen observed that previous estimates of Tyndale’s contribution to the KJV ‘have run from a high of up to 90% (Westcott) to a low of 18% (Butterworth)’. By a statistically accurate and appropriate method of sampling, based on eighteen portions of the Bible, they concluded that for the New Testament Tyndale’s contribution is about 83% of the text, and in the Old Testament 76%.“[11]. Thus the Matthew Bible, though largely unrecognized, significantly shaped and influenced English Bible versions in the centuries that followed its first appearance. (Wikipedia 5/2/10)

Source: Study Light


Notes:

1The above information was derived from “The Hebrew Text of Alma 7:11” by Thomas A. Wayment in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 2005, pp. 98-103.
2 http://www.whitmercollege.com/dictated
3 http://www.bomchristian.com/c/en/the-translation-process

If And

The Hebrew equivalent of “if then” is “if and.” Had Joseph created the Book of Mormon, or any English speaker, they would not have used the Hebrew “if and” conditional in the writing. But there they are in the Original Manuscript, and in the 1830 First Edition. However Joseph removed them in subsequent editions.

Here is an example:

Original 1830 Edition

“and when ye shall receive these things I would exhort you that ye would ask God the Eternal Father in the name of Christ if these things are not true and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart with real intent having faith in Christ and he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4)

Current 1981 Edition

“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moroni 10:4)

Homeoteleuton

Homeoteleuton is a form of scribal error. It occurs when a scribe or copyist skips a line(s) in the copying process because the lines above it and below it have the same word ending, thus confusing the scribe where they left off.

If the error is caught, they may insert the omitted information later. The flow of text will jump and have a gap. This occurred in The Book of Mormon.

Why is this important? It is a sign of a scribal error that preceded Joseph Smith. It means he did not write it.

Here is the example from The Book of Mormon. Verse 16 interrupts the flow of verses 14-20; has the same ending as verse 12; and rightly belongs between 12 and 13. The originating scribe accidentally skipped recording the verse after 12, and recorded 13 instead. Two verses later (after verse 15), the error was realized and then inserted:

12 now they after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost having their garments made white being pure and spotless before God could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence and there were many exceeding great many which were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God
[verse 16 belongs here]
13 and now my brethren I would that ye should humble yourselves before God and bring forth fruit mete for repentance that ye may also enter into that rest

14 yea humble yourselves even as the people in the days of Melchizedek who was also a High Priest after this same order which I have spoken who also took upon him the High Priesthood forever
15 and it was this same Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid tithes yea even our father Abraham paid tithes of one tenth part of all he possessed
[16 now these ordinances were given after this manner that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God it being a type of his order or it being his order and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins that they might enter into the rest of the Lord.]
17 Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abominations yea they had all gone astray they were full of all manner of wickedness
18 but Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith and received the office of the High Priesthood according to the holy order of God did preach repentance unto his people and behold they did repent and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days therefore he was called the Prince of Peace for he was the king of Salem and he did reign under his father
19 now there were many before him and also there were many afterwards but none were greater therefore of him they have more particularly made mention
20 now I need not rehearse the matter what I have said may suffice behold the Scriptures are before you if ye will arrest them it shall be to your own destruction. (Alma 13)

Harpers

In 1851 an objective assessment was made regarding the Book of Mormon in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine:

“Whatever may be the truth in respect to the real origin and authorship of the book of Mormon, there can be no doubt of its wonderful adaptedness to the purposes to which it has been applied. We can not agree with those who would deny to the work either genius or talent. The Koran bears with it that prestige of antiquity which always insures some degree of respect. It is written in a dead, and what is now regarded a learned language. It has its Oriental imagery, together with frequent allusions to what most interests us in Oriental romance. Above all, it has had its centuries of scholiasts and commentators, extracting the aroma as well as the dust of its assumed divinity. In short, there, is about it a show of learning and venerable antiquity, and yet, we do not hesitate to say it, Joe Smith, or whoever was its author, has made a book superior to that of the Arabian prophet; deeper in its philosophy, purer in its morality, and far more original. There are, doubtless, many faults both of style and language; but centuries hence may convert these into precious archaisms, and give to the bad Anglo-Saxon of the Mormon book all the interest which ages of scholiasts have imparted to what was once the irregular Arabic of the rude tribes of the desert.” (“Editor’s Table,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 17, October 1851, p. 701)

Enallage

Enallage is the poetic function where there is a sudden shift in personage by the writer. It is found throughout the Old Testament. Here is an example in the 23rd Psalm:

[Third person]

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

[Second person]

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever. (Psalm 23 NIV)

The Book of Mormon also contains Enallage. Here is an example in the Psalm of Nephi:

[Third person]

20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
22 He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.

[Second person]

30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

[Third person]

35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss;

[Second person]

therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen. (2 Nephi 4)

Once more, The Book of Mormon follows literary formulas. In this case, the shift in personage was meant to draw the person closer to God, just as it did in Psalm 23.