A Nickname and a Slam Dunk: Notes on the Book of Mormon Names Zeezrom and Jershon

Nicknames and Dysphemisms in the Bible and Ancient Mediterranean

Even in the Bible, nicknames and dysphemisms—expressions whose connotations may be offensive to the hearer—are not rare and were equally so in other parts of the ancient and early medieval world. In 1 Samuel the ungenerous husband of Abigail rudely refused hospitality to the men of David, greatly angering them. David and his men were so incensed at his offense against the laws of hospitality that they intended to punish him for his boorish behavior before they were dissuaded from their plan by Abigail (1 Samuel 25:1–35). Shortly thereafter the husband died suddenly and mysteriously (1 Samuel 25:36–37). To all subsequent history his name was given as “Nabal,” which means either “churl” or “fool,” a rather harsh nickname that might also shade off to a dysphemism. Continue reading

A Note on Chiasmus in Abraham 3:22-23

Chiasmus, or inverted parallelism, is well-known to most students of Mormon studies; this note explores one instance of it in Abraham 3:22–23:

A Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was;

B and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

C And God saw these souls that they were good,

D and he stood in the midst of them, and he said:

E These I will make my rulers;

D’ for he stood among those that were spirits,

C’ and he saw that they were good;

B’ and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them;

A’ thou wast chosen before thou wast born. Continue reading

The Christmas Quest

Introduction: The following article from Hugh Nibley, written more than half a century ago, is a timely reminder of the contrast between empty holiday exuberance and the prospect of authentic Christmas cheer that can be provided only by the good news of “a real Savior who has really spoken with men.” Continue reading

Limhi’s Discourse: Proximity and Distance in Teaching

Abstract: The author introduces a syntactic technique known as “enallage”—an intentional substitution of one grammatical form for another. This technique can be used to create distance or proximity between the speaker, the audience, and the message. The author demonstrates how king Limhi skillfully used this technique to teach his people the consequences of sin and the power of deliverance through repentance. Continue reading

A Note on Family Structure in Mosiah 2:5

Mosiah 2:5 provides the reader of the Book of Mormon with new insights about Israelite-Nephite family structure. In a passage set during what John A. Tvedtnes has persuasively argued is the Feast of Tabernacles, we read: “And it came to pass that when they came up to the temple, they pitched their tents round about, every man according to his family, consisting of his wife, and his sons, and his daughters, and their sons and their daughters, from the eldest down to the youngest.” Continue reading