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BYU Studies Quarterly Vol. 57 (2018)
Dating the departure of Lehi from Jerusalem is problematic and has resulted in various proposed dates, most falling between 597 and 587 BC, which do not allow for 600 years to elapse between the departure and the birth of Christ in late 5 BC or early 4 BC. In this article, the author introduces a variety of evidence to show that Lehi’s departure can be dated to sometime in late 605 BC. Much of this evidence results from an understanding of the state of affairs in ancient Judah during the reigns of Judean kings Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah. The author introduces supporting evidence from the Book of Mormon account and also shows why other dating models reach untenable conclusions.
The revival of scholarly interest in Abraham in recent decades provides a timely opportunity to explore the contemporary findings of biblical scholars from a Latter-day Saint perspective. This review leads to an in-depth exploration of how the Lord’s covenants with Abraham were understood by the Nephite prophets in the Book of Mormon, how their perspectives compare with contemporary biblical scholarship, and how the Nephite perspective may modify or expand standard Latter-day Saint approaches to understanding the Abrahamic covenant. This article identifies three interrelated streams of covenant discourse in the Book of Mormon—each defined by its respective focus on the (1) Lehite covenant, (2) Abrahamic covenant, or (3) gospel covenant. Though these three streams of covenant discourse are closely related, each is distinct in purpose. Nephite prophets integrated these three in unique ways to develop one larger understanding of God’s use of covenants to bring salvation to the world.
During the thirty years Royal Skousen has been working on the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project, he has discovered certain words and phrases that appear on the surface to be either ungrammatical or stylistically unusual. Some critics have claimed that these phrases are Joseph Smith’s dialect mixed with a crude imitation of the language of the King James Bible. But many of these phrases can be tied to Early Modern English, in use from 1530 to 1730. Skousen also identifies phrases from the King James Bible that are skillfully woven into the Book of Mormon text in unexpected ways as well as numerous issues that Protestants argued over during the 1500s and 1600s, such as infant baptism. Although the Book of Mormon contains elements from Early Modern English, it is not an Early Modern English text. It is unique. This article summarizes examples and discussion found in parts three and four of volume three of the Critical Text publications, titled The Nature of the Original Language (NOL).
In recent years, the topic of Mormonism and race has attracted the attention of many Mormon scholars. In 2015, W. Paul Reeve’s Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness was published, in which he argues that the development of Mormon racial theology is best understood as a reaction to larger trends in nineteenth-century America. The Protestant majority privileged “whiteness,” Reeve argues, and Mormons sought to appease them by embracing a whiteness theology. The year 2015 also saw the publication of a special edition of the Journal of Mormon History featuring race and Mormonism. Advocating a “new history of race and Mormonism,” the essayists examined “the constitution of a white colonial hegemony in Mormonism,” moving beyond the typical medium of the priesthood and temple ban to explore Mormon racial teachings. Clearly, scholars are paying close attention to the Mormon racial experience and trying to understand how race affected Mormon doctrine and practice.
No one knew…that Jack was beginning what would be a quarter-century tenure in his new role, but he had already set the course for it. He had seen no reason to revolutionize what BYU Studies was—a quarterly journal committed to showcasing the complementary nature of revealed and discovered truth, welcoming contributions from all fields of learning written for educated nonspecialists. He was determined, however, to “expand the variety of its articles and the size of its reading audience,” based on the belief that “BYU Studies can and should offer the world the best scholarly perspectives on topics of academic interest to Latter-day Saints. I don’t expect my tenure to last nearly as long as Jack’s. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen: you know Jack and I’m not him. Like Jack, however, I want BYU Studies Quarterly to remain committed to showcasing the complementary nature of revealed and discovered truth. I welcome contributions from all fields of learning written for educated nonspecialists. I will expand the variety of articles based on the belief Jack instilled in me: BYU Studies owes readers the best perspectives on topics of academic interest to Latter-day Saints.
There are several names in the Book of Mormon—such as Zenephi, Zenos, and Zenock—that look as though they are composed of scriptural names (Nephi, Enos, Enoch, and so forth) with different forms of a z-prefix that might mean “son of ” or “descendant of.” This article proposes that the names Zenephi Zenos, Zenock, and Cezoram incorporate the names of other Book of Mormon or biblical individuals and the Egyptian pin-tail duck hieroglyph, represented by the morpheme se-/ze-, which denotes filiation with these ancestors. If this hypothesis is accurate, it could provide insight into some aspects of the structure of the language of the Book of Mormon and could also reveal information about Book of Mormon naming practices and genealogical lineages of the people who received these names.