Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Robert F. Smith


The early and persistent claim that Joseph Smith quoted Shakespeare in the Book of Mormon fails to take into account the broader context of sources. Much closer parallels than Shakespeare are available in the Bible as well as in ancient Near Eastern literature. Indeed, the constellation of ideas about death expressed in 2 Nephi 1:13–15 fits that ancient Near Eastern context in several powerful ways—ways that belie the claim that Joseph Smith plagiarized Shakespeare.