About Kevin L. Barney

Kevin L. Barney is the managing partner of the Chicago office of Kutak Rock LLP, an Omaha-based law firm, where he practices public finance law. He received a BA in classics from Brigham Young University in 1982, a JD from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1985, and an LLM in taxation from DePaul University in 1990. His primary interest in Mormon Studies is as a scripturist. He blogs at

What’s in a Name? Playing in the Onomastic Sandbox

Abstract: Name as Key-Word brings together a collection of essays, many of them previously published, whose consistent theme is exploring examples of onomastic wordplay or puns in Mormon scripture in general and the Book of Mormon in particular. Without a knowledge of the meaning of these names, the punning in the scriptural accounts would not be recognized by modern English readers. Exploring the (probable) meanings of these names helps to open our eyes to how the scriptural authors used punning and other forms of wordplay to convey their messages in a memorable way.


Review of Matthew L. Bowen, Name as Key-Word: Collected Essays on Onomastic Wordplay and the Temple in Mormon Scripture (Salt Lake City: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2018). 408 pp., $24.95.

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