Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Ancient Near East, Civilization, Culture, Ancient Near East, Lehi's Journey, Bible, Notable People, Moses, Book of Mormon, Books, 1 Nephi, Criticism, Authorship, Sources, Translation, Language, Symbolism, Imagery, Nephi


Ancient texts are too often approached using modern assumptions. Among those assumptions obstructing an understanding of ancient texts is the modern emphasis on originality and on writing as intellectual property. Ancient writers relished repetition—stories that were repeated in succeeding generations—over originality. The Bible is full of repeated or allusive stories, and the Book of Mormon often reinscribes this biblical emphasis on repetition. One such biblical reverberation in the Book of Mormon is Nephi’s ocean voyage, which evokes biblical stories of origination: creation, deluge, and exodus. These three stories of beginnings are carefully alluded to in Nephi’s own foundational story, exactly as we would expect to find in an ancient Hebraic text.