Since the advent of the Dead Sea Scrolls, four biblical textual scholars have emerged at the forefront of the dialogue concerning textual evolution. They are: Frank Moore Cross, Emanuel Tov, Shemaryahu Talmon and Eugene Ulrich. Though there is some overlap in their hypotheses, each scholar has put forth a framework of biblical textual development in light of these new discoveries.
If a new biblical text were discovered today, how would each scholar approach it? This thesis evaluates each scholars' views and concludes that Emanuel Tov's criteria for judging a newly discovered text is the most thorough and explanatory. Tov's views provide for texts that appear to have evolved away from other known biblical texts. His descriptive categories for discovered texts recognize the possibility that a discovered text could be unaligned with any text known thus far to the scholarly world. He terms this category "non- aligned." The other scholars do not provide for such a category. They assume that all texts are closely related in "families," or "literary editions" and that all texts evolved in relative close proximity to one other with either occasional or frequent contact.
Book of Mormon Isaiah was removed from the biblical textual evolutionary process that was talking place in Palestine ca. 600 B.C. Where does it fit into this process as put forth by scholars? Is it a text closely related to any of the families described by these four scholars? This thesis evaluates the textual variants between Book of Mormon Isaiah and Isaiah in the Septuagint, the Masoretic Text, and Qumran's Isaiah scrolls. Of the 433 verses of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, 216 (50%) contain 370 variants. 119 of these are related to italicized words in the King James Version. 76 variants appear to agree with the Septuagint, 28 agree with Isaiah at Qumran, 52 are supported by the Masoretic Text, and 150 variants are non-aligned. These facts are accurately predicted and explained by Emanuel Tov's theories. Of the four, he is the only scholar that conceives of the idea of a text not closely aligned with any other extant text. Book of Mormon Isaiah contains approximately 1/3 of the chapters in the Masoretic text. Using Tov's theories, when 433 verses contain 370 variants, this fits the criteria of an "independent" or "non-aligned text." Book of Mormon Isaiah is a proof text for his theories.
College and Department
David M. Kennedy Center
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Ellertson, Carol F., "The Isaiah Passages in the Book of Mormon: A Non-Aligned Text" (2001). Theses and Dissertations. 4663.
Dead Sea Scrolls, Frank Moore Cross, Emanuel Tov, Shemaryahu Talmon, Eugene Ulrich, Book of Mormon, Isaiah, Bible, Old Testament, textual analysis