Hebrew in the Book of Mormon

Hebrew in the Book of Mormon

The following discussion took place on alt.religion.mormon between three different people. Jeremy Jacobs’ comments will be listed in green, the Mormon apologist’s comments will be listed in purple, and mine will be in black. Jeremy began the discussion below by responding to the claim that the Book of Mormon showed evidence of Hebrew names and phrases.

For an in-depth look at where Book of Mormon names came from, visit this page.

By the way, I’m sitting here with my copy of the FARMS publication “Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon” [previously linked from here before FARMS started charging for full web access] with Angela Crowell and John A. Tvedtnes (from which you undoubtedly got the inspiration for your post), and you left out a whole bunch of pretend evidence. One of my favorites is the “And it came to pass,” which appears in the KJV Bible a whopping number of times. Just for fun, hop on over to this page, select the KJV, and under “Search word(s)” type “came pass” and click “lookup.” The server should return a vast number of verses with “and it came to pass” or some variation thereof.

But you also left out stuff like (I’m only going to give one example from the Bible and one from the Book of Mormon to save time):


“children of Israel” (Bible)
“sword of Laban” (Book of Mormon)


“Behold, a watcher and a holy one came.” (Daniel 4:13)
“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the son of God.” (III Nephi 4:44)


“But with us, even us” (Deut. 5:3)
“And I, even I” (Mosiah 1:62)


“Holy, holy holy, is the Lord” (Isaiah 6:3)
“Wo, wo, wo be unto them” (II Nephi 12:18)


This one is particularly striking, because it lists a whole slew of phrases that are identical in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, like “before my face” (Psalm 5:8; III Nephi 4:30), “burned with fire” (Jer. 38:23; III Nephi 4:28), “my soul, your soul, their souls,” (Jer. 18:20; II Nephi 3:51), etc.

In other words, what we have here is [one of Joseph Smith’s main influences–the KJV of the Bible]. And then FARMS (Foundation for Arrogantly Rejecting Meaningful Scholarship) comes along and pretends that this constitutes proof of divine origin.

Scholarship that begins with the very thing it’s trying to prove is the most contemptible form of chicanery imaginable.


Welcome to the school of criticism without substantiation.

Did you read the above? Try reading it again. Jeremy backed up every bit of his criticism WITH substantiation. This reply of yours is the one without substantiation.

I just love these amateur “scholars”. You can take a computer and find all kinds of things. But Joseph Smith did not have a computer.

No, but he did have a KJV of the Bible which he read frequently. If one of my main reading sources is the KJV of the Bible and then I turn around and write a book that sounds like and quotes from the KJV of the Bible what does Occam’s Razor tell us?

Five months to write the Book of Mormon, eh? You should read the history of the translation process a little more carefully. Nibley went for 3 months in his critique of Brodie and 60 days on another occasion, but he was wrong too. See this page for a more thorough critique of this apologetic claim.

You should also take into consideration the fact that Joseph Smith had years to come up with text and plot. There are tons of books, far superior in writing style and story line, that didn’t take nearly as long as the Book of Mormon did to complete.

The “names” that are posted on rpcman’s site are laughable.

Really? Why is that? Because I didn’t use Nibley-like tactics of making false claims and then fail to back them up with references? Perhaps you can fill in the gaps for us then. When Nibley claims that Korihor, Pahoran, and Paankhi were popular Egyptian names in the 7th Century BC just where was he getting this information?

The names were found using modern computer searching methods. Do you have any idea how long it would take someone to come up with those tortured connections?

Not very long considering Joseph Smith had a list of all the names found in the KJV of the Bible in the back of his Bible. Perhaps you didn’t bother to read my page before calling it ‘laughable’.

What is totally ignored by the critics is the way all of those names and constructs were woven into the fabric of the Book of Mormon as though they belonged there. All of the repititions which some have complained about in the Book of Mormon are perfectly good Hebrew constructs.

So are those found in the Book of Abraham, but Joseph Smith claimed he was translating Egyptian at the time.

What is totally ignored by the apologists is the way the ancient Americans didn’t speak Hebrew, the Book of Mormon doesn’t claim to be written in Hebrew, and if it shows any Hebrew influence it can more easily be traced to the KJV of the Bible.

And lastly, there have been two different authorship studies since 1980 which establish pretty firmly that the Book of Mormon has many authors, and that Joseph Smith nor any of the others who were involved in the translation could not have been the author.

Who did these studies? Were they unbiased scholars or Mormon apologists? What did unbiased scholars have to say about them?

Of course, since you are so smart, and the Book of Mormon is such a simple fabrication, you should be able to duplicate it easily. So in five months from now, I will look forward to seeing your final work as proof. Unless you can do so [the Book of Mormon must be true.]

Is this good logic or poor apologetics?