In this presentation, entitled “Enos—Wrestling a Man and Seeing God’s Face: Allusions to the Temple and Christ’s Atonement in Early Nephite Uses of the Jacob and Esau Story,” Professor Matthew L. Bowen compares the stories of Jacob’s wrestle with the “man” in Genesis 32 with the wrestle before God described by Enos in the Book of Mormon. Professor Bowen examines the Hebrew words underlying the Genesis text and draws surprising parallels between them and the likely Hebrew translations of the English text of the Book of Enos. He argues that these stories have interesting connections to temple worship and the doctrine of the atonement. Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, and Enos considered the Jacob and Esau story important because of their family’s estrangement and flight from Jerusalem and Nephi et al.’s estrangement and flight from Laman and Lemuel and those who became the Lamanites. Jacob’s and Esau’s reconciliation and hope for reconciliation within Lehi’s family are a profound parable of the atonement of Jesus Christ and the divine embrace through which we become identified and “at-one” with with the Lord.
This event took place on Thursday evening, October 26, 2017, in Orem, Utah.
Matthew L. Bowen was raised in Orem, Utah and graduated from Brigham Young University. He holds a PhD in Biblical Studies from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and is currently an Assistant Professor in Religious Education at Brigham Young University—Hawaii. He and his wife (the former Suzanne Blattberg) are the parents of three children: Zachariah, Nathan, and Adele.