Too Little or Too Much Like the Bible? A Novel Critique of the Book of Mormon Involving David and the Psalms

Abstract: A recent graduate thesis proposes an intriguing new means for discerning if the Book of Mormon is historic or not. By looking at Book of Mormon references to David and the Psalms, the author concludes that it cannot be the product of an ancient Jewish people and that it is, instead, the result of Joseph Smith’s “plagiarism” from the Bible and other sources. This paper examines the author’s claims, how they are applied to the Book of Mormon, and proposes points the author does not take into consideration. While the author is to be congratulated for taking a fresh perspective on the Book of Mormon, ultimately his methodology fails and his conclusions fall flat.
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Psalm 82 in Contemporary Latter-day Saint Tradition

The nature and function of Psalm 82 has long been a subject of debate within biblical scholarship.1 The text is rather brief and has no real significant textual instabilities,2 but it stands out within the Hebrew Bible as a text particularly steeped in mythological imagery. Precritical exegetes understood the gods of the narrative to be human judges, but subsequent textual discoveries and concomitant lexicographical advances, combined with more critical methodologies, have largely undermined that reading.3 A divine assembly setting has become widely accepted since the middle of the twentieth century,4 and more contemporary scholarship focuses on the psalm’s possible distinction between yhwh and El,5 its literary form, and its historical contextualization.6 Continue reading