Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Bible, Language, Book of Mormon


Some Latter-day Saint commentators deem a phrase that appears in 2 Nephi 12:16 but not in the parallel passage in Isaiah 2:16—“and upon all ships of the sea”—as evidence that the Book of Mormon preserves a version of this verse from the brass plates that is more complete than the Hebrew or King James readings. One scholar’s conclusions in this regard are reviewed and then critiqued for ignoring the complexities of the ancient Hebrew and Greek versions of the Bible. The authors examine Isaiah 2:16 in its broader literary context, noting that the 2 Nephi reading alters a pattern of synonymous couplets; analyze the Greek and Hebrew texts of the verse; and relate their findings to the Book of Mormon reading. They discuss the inherent limitations of textual criticism in this kind of study and conclude that LDS and non-LDS scholars are open to different interpretive possibilities owing to the role that faith plays in one’s approach to and interpretation of textual evidence.