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  Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Chapter 10 of First Nephi is the first time we run across a group of Biblical quotations.  It helps to classify such quotations into three groups:
  1. Acknowledged quotes, such as 1 Nephi 20-21 quoting Isaiah 48-49, acknowledged as such in 1 Nephi 19:23-24.
  2. Unacknowledged quotes, such as 1 Nephi 10:4 quoting Deuteronomy 18:15 but not indicating a quote from Moses or Deuteronomy, or 1 Nephi 10:8 quoting Isaiah 40:3 but not noting the source.  This refers to whether the text acknowledges a quote, not to whether a quote contains a footnote reference identifying a parallel text elsewhere in the scriptures.
  3. Prophetic quotes (my term), where the Book of Mormon quotes a scriptural text not yet existing, such as 1 Nephi 10:8 ("there standeth one among you whom ye know not") quoting John 1:26; and 1 Nephi 10:8 ("he is mightier than I, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose") following Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:7, Luke 3:16, and John 1:27.  Such a quote is prophetic, of course, because some type of prophetic vision is required, under orthodox theories of the Book of Mormon text, for a writer in the 6th century BC to quote passages written in the 1st century AD.

Chapter 10 of 1 Nephi has several other prophetic quotes.  It quotes John 1:28 (in 10:9), John 1:29 (in 10:10), the metaphor of the olive tree in Romans 11:17-24 (in 10:12-14), and Hebrews 13:8 (in 10:18).  I found little in my Encyclopedia of Mormonism Book of Mormon articles that comment on this issue directly.  In the article "Translation of the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith," by John W. Welch and Tim Rathbone, it states generally that little is known about the translation process itself. . . .  Only Joseph knew the actual process, and he declined to describe it in public.

Elsewhere, there is a short article entitled The King James Bible and the Book of Mormon, by Michael R. Ash, online at FAIR.  Kerry Shirts posted an old Hugh Nibley article on the general topic of the English language idiom and phrasing used in the Book of Mormon.  Finally, readers particularly keen on the topic might consider the additional apologetic arguments referred to at the end of The Bible in the Book of Mormon, by Curt van den Huevel.  He also classifies Bible quotes into three groups, which he labels acknowledged, unacknowledged, and anachronistic.  I came across his article after writing the analysis above, while looking for online resources to add in this final paragraph. 12:02:57 AM      

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Last update: 3/3/2004; 12:06:48 AM.