Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship



Gordon Thomasson, May 3 seminar, Book of Mormon studies, metonymy, Nabal, David, New York, Babylon on the Hudson


A suggestion by Gordon Thomasson led to a May 3 seminar where 11 F.A.R.M.S. collaborators examined another subtle stylistic feature in the Book of Mormon. Metonymy is the practice of giving a person or place a name whose meaning reflects an event or trait associated with that person or place. A closely related practice sees a person's name become symbolic of some phenomenon. An example of metonymy is in I Sam. 25 where a man is said to have been named Nabal, "fool," because he refused to aid David and his supporters. The second pattern is shown in the statement "to be a Judas" and in the common reference to New York as "Babylon on the Hudson."