Dr. Einar C. Erickson
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There is a successive putting on and off of garments or animal skins, the soul after death had to ascend to the highest heaven and passing through the gates, every gate being watched by a warder. The ascent motive only occurs in a continuated form, they will bear it the soul to the eternal rest.

BOOK OF MORMON NAMES

BY

TY. B. ERICKSON, MD, & MICHELLE R. ERICKSON

REVISED AND ENLARGED BY EINAR C. ERICKSON

DR. TY. B. ERICKSON and his wife Michelle R. Erickson commenced research in 1977 in an area suggested by Dr. Hugh Nibley.  In 1967, Dr. Nibley published his book Since Cumorah. He listed, between pages 52 and 55, on maps and charts, 20 important manuscript discoveries in the Old World and Egypt.  No. 12 was at Elephantine. This was an ancient site on an island in the Nile River near the First Cataract (water falls and white water rapids), the first of five such cataracts that extend 500 miles to the southern border of Egypt where the Nile River splits, in the Territory of Ethiopia. Elephantine is some 500 miles south of Cairo.  Nibley wrote:  "Elephantine. Where in 1906 A. Cowley and in 1911 E. Sachau discovered the business and law archives of a Jewish community of the fifth century BC.  In 1953 more documents were located in Brooklyn, [the Brooklyn Museum] where they had lain unnoticed in a trunk for 50 years.  In our opinion these letters, written in Aramaic to Persian officials and to important Jews in Jerusalem, supply the MOST VALUABLE SINGLE COMENTARY to the Book of Mormon....Perhaps the most surprising discovery about these Jews settled so far from home, was their program for building a temple in their new home.  Not long ago learned divines were fond of pointing out that Nephi's idea of building a temple in the New World was quite sufficient in itself to prove once and for all the fraudulence of the Book of Mormon, since, it was argued, no real Jew would ever dream of having a temple anywhere but in Jerusalem. So the Elephantine Papyri score another point for the Book of Mormon." (Nibley pp. 53,55,61)  Nibley briefly returned to the subject of Elephantine in his study of the Lachish Letters, (Nibley 2, pp. 387-388) and in his Book of Mormon Studies (Nibley 3, pp. 285-292-293).  Was there much more of importance in the Elephantine Archives?

The Elephantine colony had "transmitted to posterity three Aramaic archives...Two are family archives and one is a communal archive." (Porten p. vii).  The "publication in [1906 and 1911] ...of these [the two family] archives caused a sensation in learned circles not unlike that produced a half-century later by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The increasing popularity of Qumran studies coincided with the publication of the third [communal archive with its LISTS OF NAMES] and tended to eclipse the full significance of the Elephantine texts." (Porten p. vii).  It is this third archive which interests us the most.     

As a college student, Michelle, was challenged by the missionaries to read the Book of Mormon. She discovered an important male prophet named Alma and this disturbs her, not only because of the fact that the name is feminine, but also, her own grandmother carries the same name. How does she reconcile this name? She subsequently joins the Church. At a fireside given in Bountiful, Utah the question was raised: "Isn't it ridiculous that the common American name Sam would be claimed to be as old as 600 B.C.?"  Is there an answer? A New Testament Scholar asks, "how it is possible that New Testament names such as Timothy are found in the Book of Mormon, written long before the Apostle lived in Jerusalem?"  How do you respond?  Timothy along with Antipas, a place name, appear to be Greek names. "There was a Greek presence in the Levant (including Palestine) from at least the 8th century BC. Contact between the Aegean existed at least as early as the end of the Late Bronze Age, 1400 to 1200 B.C." (Largey pp. 80-581) Wasn't this about the time Moses was entering the Promised Land? Therefore Greek names were available to Lehi, and may have even been in the Brass Plates.  But Greek names would not have been available to the Jaredites, and no Greek names appear in the Jaredite record. Joseph Smith could have grievously erred in this regard, but he did not. There are interesting responses to these and other questions.

Latter Day Saints must be capable of answering such queries. They need not squirm uncomfortably or quickly change the subject when such issues are raised. One can start by recognizing that all people respond to some sound, which they interpret as their name.  In many cultures these names have particular meanings of significance beyond mere reference to the individual.  Ty, served as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints in Iceland during 1976-77. Serving there was very exciting since his great-grandfather was born in that country, coming to America when he was ten years old. The Icelandic heritage is an important part of the family. In addition, Ty's great-great great grandfather [Einar], after whom his own father is named, was the last missionary to Iceland, along with his second son, who was his Councilor. Einar was the last Mission President to Iceland before proselytizing was abandoned in the spring of 1914 just prior to World War l, not to resume until 1974.

Icelandic names have very special meanings. For example, Ty's father's name, Einar, is Icelandic and means "chief warrior". In Old Norse, giving a name like this to a child would hopefully inspire and motivate the individual to excellence. This tradition has continued in Ty's family. Ty's eldest daughter is name: Tesja Mai, which is interpreted "easily molded".  His first son carries the name Bryninn Tyel. The first name signifies "Iron Clad Warrior".  His middle name is a composite of his two fathers: Ty, referring to his earthly father and El referring to his heavenly Father. The second son is Ari Brye. Ari means "eagle" in Icelandic and "Lion" in Hebrew; Brye is interpreted "excellent man".  The second daughter's name is AesaLina, meaning "heavenly women" and the last daughter's name is JannaLyse, but she was named after her grandmother on her mother's side; which is a practice found in the Book of Mormon.

An examination of any biblical dictionary will demonstrate that nearly every name in the Bible has some specific meaning, whether the names were Hebrew, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, or of other cultures.  If the Book of Mormon is indeed a record of three groups of people from the Middle East who came to America centuries and millennia ago, and if the people were real in that record, then one should be able to examine their names and the names in their records for evidence of authentic Semitic roots.  Onomasiologist are those who study the meaning of names and how they are put together with a prefix, one or more core and root designations, and then a suffix. Most often the suffix is the main unit of the name that is of specific interest as are the rules that govern their abbreviation.  One question that might be asked is: Did Joseph get the names right?  Did Moroni, when he abridged the plates of Ether (Ether l:2), that Mosiah had translated (Mosiah 28:11-13)  by use of the Urim and Thumim, correctly transmit a much earlier period of names? Were any onomastic rules violated?  Nibley points out that the Urim and Thimmim "are not as has always been supposed, Hebrew plural forms, but are archaic words in the singular.  This means that the conventional attempts to determine the nature of Urim and Thummim from classical Hebrew are worthless and, as Kirku points out, [the] Urim and thummim stands for two single implements or objects [two triangle celestial stones, when superimposed, form the star of David], and not for multiplicity of things.  To judge by proper names in the Book of Mormon, the language of the Jaredites was related too pre-Hebrew mimated language that has left its marks in a few very old and holy words in the Old Testament....a large percentage of them end in -m [mimation] or -n [nunation]. A glance at a name-list in the Book of Mormon [pages 531-534 1960 edition] shows that mimation is overwhelmingly favored for Jaredite names, while nunation is the rule for Nephite and Lamanite ones. ...Kirku had declared that it is now known for certain that mimation was still current in the Semitic dialect of Palestine and Syria between 2100 and 1800 BC.  From Egyptian and Hittite records it is now clear that the dialects of Palestine and Syria dropped this mimation in the first half of the second millennium BC. [after the time Joseph was sold into Egypt]. This old mimation ending is preserved in the Bible only in a few pre-Hebrew words  [such as] Teraphim, Seraphim, Urim and Thummim."  (Nibley 2, p. 98)  The proper names are divided almost equally between Egyptian and Hebrew... D.W. Thomas in 1950 pointed out  "the strong tendency of Book of Mormon names to end in -iah is very striking, since the vast majority of Hebrew names found in [the] Lachish letters, [see Nibley 2, p. 387] end in the same way, indicating that -iah names were very fashionable in Lehi's time." (Nibley 2, p. 97)  One can see how obvious that is by just looking at the Book of Mormon name list.  Lachish was a defensive outpost near Jerusalem that was destroyed when the temple was destroyed after Lehi had left Jerusalem.  

In a way, this research is a short excursion in Onomastic studies, into personal and place names, their prefixes, cores--roots, and suffixes.  One can easily be excited by the results of such studies when applied to the unique names found in the Book of Mormon.  Especially of interest will be to see if the Onomastic studies of the personal and place names support the historical chronology of the Book of Mormon as expressed in the Jaredite and the Nephite records and the languages in use in their respective time periods?  "Though most of the names in the Book of Mormon are Lehite-Mulekite  (i.e., those people descended from the original Lehi colony and from the people of Zarahemla, who trace themselves back to the colony of Mulek), a sizable number are Jaredite, the language group [among] the first inhabitants of Book of Mormon lands.  Of the 188 names unique to the Book of Mormon, 142 are Lehite-Mulekite, 41 are Jaredite, and five are common to both groups." (Largey p. 580)  

When we research the Book of Mormon we ask, "Where did Joseph obtain the names contained in this book of Scripture?" What a feat it would be if he had, as some detractors assert, conjured them up out of his mind.  "The personal and geographic names in the Book of Mormon provide a window to the language and people [and their history] who produced that book. Of the 337 proper names in the Book of Mormon 188 (about 56 percent) by current count are unique to the Book of Mormon. Some 96 names (about 28 percent) occur in passages in which the bible is being quoted or paraphrased.  That leaves 53 names (about 16 percent) which occur in both the Book of Mormon and the Bible [such as Timothy and Antipas which are Greek]  but in unrelated passages." (Largey, p. 580)  We might expect that since two of the groups of people of the Book of Mormon were Jews [or of the House of Jacob] transplanted to the American continent about 600 BC, that our study would be guided by names in use before and about that time in Palestine, but not AFTER that time, as there was no communication between the transplanted groups of people and the cultures left behind.  But the third and earlier group, the Jaredites, were descendents of Shem [Semites] and preceded Abraham by nearly two hundred and fifty years.  The Jaredites were transplanted out of the Central Mesopotamian, or the Middle East, more than 1700 years before the Nephites arrived, and they also did not have any communication with the cultures they left behind.  But the Jaredites did overlap with the Nephites by nearly 300 years. Coriantumr, the last Jaredite King (Ether 13:16) was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons" (Omni l:21) until his death (Ether 13:21)" (Largey pp. 215-216). Was there communication between them? Did some names get exchanged? As will be noted at least five names are common to both groups. Therefore, one of the main concerns is the fifty-six percent of the names that are found to be unique to the Book of Mormon. And since the third group, the Jaredites,  came so early, is there something about the names that are found in that portion of the Book of Mormon in the Book of Ether, that are of greater antiquity and yield information about Central Mesopotamian sources for the names?  Have archaeologists uncovered ancient records of that early time that will provide us with startling intimate details of names?   

A "listing of Jared's progeny as written by Ether in Ether l:6-32, and expanded and included [in] a tabulation, [some 44 names],  of THE POSTERITY OF JARED,  with additional information on Jaredite names [is] also provided." (see Largey pp. 430-433).  The Jaredite names, utilizing the tabulations of Largey, will be of great interest. In fact it was a name in the early history of the Jaredites that in part stimulated this entire effort.

The Jaredites are generally placed as post-flood and at the time of the Tower of Babel, which would be approximately 2344  or so BC. (Shulman pp. 13-16)  However, since Adam died at age 930, Milton R. Hunter in his Commenctary on the Pearl of Great Price,  begins his chronology 70 years earlier. If we use his work as a time factor, then the tower of Babel would have been closer to 2414 after the fall.  So we will use about 2400 BC as the time of the Tower.  Moroni states that  "the first part of this record [Ether] ...speaks concerning the creation of the world, and also of Adam and an account from the time even to the great tower, and whatever things transpired among the children of men until that time...a part of the account I give, from the tower down until they were destroyed."(Ether 1:3-5)  It would appear that the ancient Ether account would have included the colonization of the Western and Eastern Hemispheres by the descendants of Adam down until the flood, and then the recolonization of the same regions after the flood. Is there a hint of this in 2 Nephi 1:11? "Yea, he will bring OTHER NATIONS unto them, [other than the Jaredites and NATIONS, in the Plural] and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten."

Language Archaeologists would say the Jaredites came from what is called the "Nuclear zone, on the ‘hilly flanks of the fertile crescent'...which may be subdivided into three lobes.  The first, in the Levant, is represented by such early sites as Jericho and Tell Ramad.  Its hunter-gatherer predecessor was the Natufian culture of Palestine  [the "desert peoples in the later prehistory of northeaster Africa, between about 7000 and 4000 B.C. (Hoffman p. 218)] The second lobe, represented by such early farming sites as Jarmo and Ali Kosh, was preceded by the hunter-gatherer groups which are today named after the cave of Karim Shahir in [the] north Zagros [Mts]. The third lobe is in south-east Antolia, with such sites as Cayonu and Catal Huyuk [presently under excavation]. . .A fourth lobe for this nuclear zone [is identified by Russian archaeologists as] lying east of the last, and extending into Turkmenia, with sites such as Djeitun and Togolok Tepe." (Renfrew p. 173)

These nuclear zones of Neolithic [New Stone Age] inhabitants would all be pre-flood and PRE-ADAMIC, before 4000 BC, and do not constitute a valid source for language studies of interest to us. There is very little evidence from before 4000 BC.   However, from the time of Adam, the First Man on the Earth (Abraham 1:3) to the time of the flood, many areas of the earth were colonized in the Eastern Hemisphere. But recolonisation seems to not have taken place in the Western Hemisphere or only on an extremely limited basis (2 Nephi 1:11) until the time of the Jaredites. All of Adams descendents had been erased from the Western Hemisphere by the flood. After the flood the Eastern Hemisphere, and anywhere else, would have been colonized or recolonized by Noah and his family. There are reputable archaeologist and historians who support these general conclusions:

"The profound transformation of this landscape [the nuclear zones] during the period 4000-3000 BC  [Adam's family spreading throughout the world] saw the emergence of large cities, royal dynasties, temples and palaces, bureaucrats and administrators, huge teams of laborers and writing.  The appearance of this new form of society is considered by archaeologists to mark the dawn of civilization. That it took place ...in southern Mesopotamia along the Euphrates, and (possibly contemporaneously) in lower Egypt along the Nile [and elsewhere such as at Mohenjodaro in India as Adam's posterity spread throughout the world], is beyond doubt." (Weiss p. 77) Were these early worldwide colonizations wiped out by the flood?  And were many of their monuments left standing? If they were rebuilt or built over after the flood shouldn't evidence support this? Were they rebuilt after the flood, sometimes exactly on the same spot? Archaeologically would there have been only a little time gap between the occupations of areas before and after the flood? Does the more recent archaeological excavations provide clear statements in this regard? It seems clear that the language of the Jaredites was not confounded, (Ether 1:335) so they retained the Adamic Language however it may have been modified by them.  Was that why Mosiah had to use the Urim and Thummim, the one given to the Brother of Jared who was commanded to seal them up with his record (Ether 3:23) to be used later to translate his record? (Ether 4:5)  Are some of the Jaredite names preserved from the Adamic language during the translation efforts of Mosiah and the abridgement work of Moroni who said, "he finished his record (and the hundredth part I have not written)"? (Ether 15:33)

The leading expert on the Archaeology of Languages tells us that in some of these nuclear areas   "the earliest known inscriptions certainly give us no indications of Indo-European languages....We do have clear written evidence for the existence of TWO  non-Indo-European languages, Sumerian and Elamite.  In the Levant, the earliest known inscriptions certainly give us no indications of Indo-European languages: it is not clear whether early Semitic languages may have been spoken in the area so early as this [4000 to 2500 B.C or before the flood] ...The language of Elba [after 2400 BC] in northern Syria in the third millennium BC is related to the Semitic languages." (Renfrew pp. 171-177)  "Semitic speakers were one of the elements in ancient Mesopotmian civilization from its very beginning, before 3000 BC...by 2900 BC the Semitic element was soi prominent, at least in the north of what was to become Bablonis, that the Sumerian King List gives Semitic names for most of the rulers of the first dynasty of Kish. By 2600-2500  [right around the Tower of Babel incident and the departure of the Jaredites] tablets from Abu Salabikh, near Nippur in central Sumer, bear a large number of Semitic names, including the names of about half of the scribes who wrote those tablets—in Sumerian. (Saggs p. 41)  "Even further away, the major city of Ebla in north-west Syria, which flourished in the tenty-fouirth century, although politically independent until conquered by the Agade dynasty, enjoyed a culture of a markedly Sumerian type."  (Saggs p. 141)  Saggs provides tables of the Dynasties, "From the rise of the Dynasty of Agade to the Fall of the ‘Third Dynasty of Ur, c. 2370-2000 BC."  And  correlates them with  the Biblical, Assyrian, Palestinian, Persian chronologies and others,  down to nearly the time of Christ. (Saggs p. 415-419)

The Language before the flood all over the world would have been the Adamic tongue. In some way it is related to the Semitic languages. Astour states: "The earliest mention of the name (and nothing else) of a north Syrian city -which happens to be Ebla-came in a copy of an inscription of Sargon of Akkad (2267-2212)." ( Gordon p. 3)  Matthiae states: "Ebla (Tell Mardikh) Dates: Mardikh l:  3500-2900 BC....Mardikh II A about 2900-2350.   [Wouldn't this be part of the time period the region was colonized by Adam's descendents before the flood?] ...Ebla is one of the largest ancient sites in inner Syria...Mardikh IIBI ... about 2400-2250 BC is the time when the city flourished [which would be after the flood and colonized by descendents of Noah]." (Weiss pp. 134-137)  It would seem that the Jaredites had left the region after the flood, at about the time of the Tower or Babel, and perhaps just before  Ebla was being established, taking with them their original language. The tablets of Ebla state that the city had not been conquered since the flood. Right after the Tower of Babel. One of the oldest languages of that area just recently claimed to have been deciphered, is  Elamaitic. "The Elamites had extensive interactions with all the major Mesopotamian rations over a period of several thousand years, and they undoubtedly had substantial influence on the Persians who, in turn, have played an enormous role in Middle Eastern history for over 2,500 years, right down to the present day. Richard Hallock spent 40 years on this project." (Berkowitz p. 10)  Not much is yet available to make any comparisons. This period of time is still being investigated and is shrouded in some vagueness.  Excavations began at Ebla about 1966, the archival tablets began to be discovered in 1974, and continues to the present.  (Weiss p. 123)   This is a frontier of sorts where investigations and study will be very fruitful.  This time period also includes "Mari, Ur, the Akkadian dynasty, and the Amorite movement across Syria and Mesopotamia." (Weiss p. 542)  Ancient records from all of these areas will be utilized in the on-going study of Book of Mormon names.

Most of the unique names in the Book of Mormon, however, are in the Nephite records.

To begin with we know that when Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon he would dictate the spelling of each name that he came across.  He did not leave it to the scribes [Oliver Cowdrey and others] for the transliteration. This then tells us that the names which we read are direct English equivalents of names actually found on the gold plates, or the original name unchanged in translation. One wonders then if there is any evidence to support the second percentage of names referred to above as being authentically from the Middle East?

Of all the names of persons in the Book of Mormon, except one, ARE SURNAMES, What a feat it was for Joseph Smith to get that right? Except for one name, All of the persons in the Book of Mormon were known by one name only. And Joseph got that right too.That single exception is quite interesting.

"While residing in Kirtland Elder Reynolds Cahoon had a son born to him. One day when President Joseph Smith was passing his door he called the Prophet in and asked him to bless and name the baby. Joseph did so and gave the boy the name of MAHONRI MORIANCUMER.  When he had finished the blessing he laid the child on the bed, and turning to Elder Cahoon said, the name I have given your son is the name of the brother of Jared; the Lord has just shown [or revealed] it to me. ...that was the first time the name of the brother of Jared was known in the Church in this dispensation" (Largey p. 546)  The name MORIANCUMER is also a place name. After crossing many waters and a stretch of wilderness, the Jaredite colony pitched their tents in a place they called MORIANCUMER , at this place they dwelt for four years, (Ether 2:13)  no doubt named after the brother of Jared. To this surname was added the name MAHONRI.  Very few Jaredite names end in the suffixes  -ri, or -i.   The twentysixth descendent of Jared has the prefix portion of Moriancumer in the name: Morianton.  This name appears in the Nephite record more than a hundred years after the last survivor of the Jaredites had died.  He was a prominent leader about 68 BC (Alma 50:28).  There was also a coastal land bordering the land of Lehi, and a city named after the Nephite Morianton. (Alma 50:25)  Did the Nephites obtained this name from Jaredite contacts and records?   

Those who are students of the Book of Mormon often gloss over the names without noticing some very distinct peculiarities. All of the names in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon, "as translated into the English language, neither use the letters q, x, or w, nor begin with F." (Parry p. 159)  Is this a mere coincidence?  "Had Joseph Smith authored the Book of Mormon in an attempt to pass it off as an ancient record, he might easily have slipped up by giving at least a few of his characters surnames, as was the custom for centuries before the coming forth of the Book of Mormon or started them with forbidden letters.  And even if he were careful to model his expression after the Bible and thereby avoid obvious pitfalls, chances are slim that he would have noticed that in the Bible the letters q, x, and w are not USED in proper names." (Parry pp. 159-160)  And names would never START with an F.

This study is the product of a search to shed light on such questions. Beginning in 1977 Ty wrote a six-page paper comparing the Archives of Elephantine with the Book of Mormon. This was one of the requirements of a BYU religion class taught by Dr. Paul Chessman on the Book of Mormon; to write a paper on external evidence supporting that great book of scripture. Ty conferred with his father about the possibilities of various subjects. The Elephantine Archives came up, and for a Christmas present his father gave Ty a copy of the Archives of Elephantine, by Bezalel Porten. Elephantine became Ty's chosen subject. Later a phone call was made to the Brooklyn Museum in search of other published material, additional source material was obtained.  What stuck out, right off, were the many pages of personal and place names. (Porten, pp. 134-145)  One name immediately caught the eye, on page 141 in the middle of the page was the name Kib-da (Yah Honored)  -‘da' is an abbreviated form [hypocrystocon] of ‘Yah',  Kib  means  ‘Honored' (Porten p. 141).  The name Kib is found in Ether 1:32.  "Jared had four sons, Jacom, Gilgah, Mahah, and Orihah.  Kib was the son of Orihah,  the fourth son, and was therefore a grandson of Jared.  Kib reigned in his father Orihah's stead.  Kib lost his throne to his rebellious son Corihor, [note this name because it is a Jaredite name and it shows up in the Nephite record as well, indicting some communicatioin between the two societies at some point]. ...[Kib] then dwelt in captivity.  Kib's son Shule, restored him to his throne, (Ether 7:3-5, 7-10)." (Largey, p. 430).  That name and the implications of the Elephantine temple launched a study still in progress.  Were some of the Adamic names preserved in the variety of languages that occurred at the Tower of Babel?  Even  though the tongues were confused could names have persisted for the most part into the new languages?

In researching the chosen subject, it became apparent that the Elephantine Archives were a tremendous find supporting the Book of Mormon as being authentically written by ancient Jews.   Since that time Ty has found other discoveries, which have given greater understanding to the names of the Book of Mormon, from his father's library he obtained other resources including the Murasu archives,  the Ebla tablets, and the Amorite personal names from Mari, and recently to these have been added data from the works of Gordon, Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language;  Day, (An Adversary in Heaven); Young, (Mari in Retrospect);  Layton, Archaic Features of Canaanite Personal Names in the Hebrew Bible; Renfrew, Archaeology of Language: The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins; Young, Ugarit in Retrospect: 50 years of Ugarit and Ugaritic;  Muchiki, Egyptian Proper Names and Loanwords on North-West Semitic, and others,  greatly expanding the original study. 

Scholars including Hugh Nibley, Daniel Ludlow, JoAnn Carlton, John Tvedtnes, Dr. D. Chanary, [the one who translated the Book of Mormon into Hebrew for President Kimball] Dennis L. Largey, John Gee, and others have already documented a number of evidences supporting Book of Mormon names.  FARMS, at BYU,  embarked on a Book of Mormon Name project more than twenty years ago, but their research has not been completed nor published.  They have a copy of the study prepared about that time, but not this enlarged work.

The original goal and it remains the main goal is to enlighten the Latter-day Saint reader of the profound confirmation of the Book of Mormon which has surfaced over the past thirty years as serious research has been achieved in Book of Mormon studies. These studies are not necessarily  seeking to prove the Book of Mormon is true,  that sure knowledge can only be attained as outlined by Moroni chapter 10. The object is to spark an interest in serious study of that sacred book of scripture and indicate some directions where some research might go.  It is a most productive, inspiring and fruitful search.

So, the importance of the Elephantine Archives, especially the third part found in the Brooklyn museum, can hardly be gainsaid:

"(l) They antedate most of the [Dead Sea] Scrolls by at least four centuries.

(2) They provide the earliest documentation for the political, economic social, religious, and corporate life of a Jewish community-and a Diaspora one at that. [Can we consider the Nephites to be part of this Diaspora?]

(3) They display numerous points of contact with the contemporary Biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah and greatly enhance our knowledge of Imperial Aramaic.

(4) They are valuable to the Iranologist and Egyptologist because they contain many Persian and Egyptian words and names.  [so does the Book of Mormon.]

(5) They provide another link in the chain of ancient Near Eastern law, allowing us trace the development of legal patterns form earliest times down through the demotic contracts of Egypt and beyond. [The Book of Mormon is very similar, it claims connections and contacts with Egypt]

(6) They illuminate the daily life of a military colony on the farthest border of the   Persian Empire. [the  Book of Mormon illuminates a transplanted Israelite people on another hemisphere, even farther away]." (Porten, pp. vii-viii)

The Elephantine Colony lasted for several hundred years.  The Nephite people with about the same beginnings in time lasted for a thousand years.  The Nephites had been preceded by an earlier colonization by Near Eastern Semitic peoples, the Jaredites, nearly 1800 years earlier.   Porten was able to "produce a comprehensive study of all aspects of the Elephantine Jewish Community-political, economic, religious, family, and communal."  (Porten, p. ix) The Elephantine archives and subsequent related discoveries will be mined for a long time and will yield much valuable insights into the Book of Mormon. We have come to look upon the youthful prophet, Joseph, with great awe!

 BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Berkowitz, Stephen, in, Achaeology Adyssey, Janury-February 2005. Biblical Archaeological Society, Washington DC

Coogan, Michael D., West Semitic Personal Names in Uurasu Documents, Edwards Brothers, Inc., Ann Arbor, 1976
 
Crim, Kieth, Ed. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible: Supplementary Volume, Nashville, Abingdon, 1976 
 
Douglas, J. D., ed., The New Bible Dictionary, Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, 1962

Douglas, J.D. 2, ed., The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England 1962 

Erickson, Ty B, & Michelle R., Book of Mormon Names:  The Evidence, unpublished, Held by FARMS

Fitzmyer, Joseph A., S. J. A Wandering Aramean Collected Aramaic Essays, Edwards Brothers, Inc., Ann Arbor, 1979

Gordon, Cyrus H. & Gary A. Rehndsburg, Editors. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Vol 3, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake Indiana 1992

Hoffman, Michael A., Egypt Before The Pharaohs, Alfred A. Knoph, New York,  1979

Kraeling, Emil G., Rand McNally Bible Atlas, Rand McNally & Co., New York 1956

Largey, Dennis L., Gen. Ed. Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2003

Muchiki, Yoshiyuki, Egyptian Proper Names and Loanwords in North-West Semitic, SBL Dissertation Series 173, Society of Biblical Literataure, Atlanta, 1999

Nibley, Hugh W., Since Cumorah, Deseret Book Co. Salt Lake City, Utah 1967

Nibley, Hugh W. 2, The Prophetic Book of Mormon,  Deseret Book Company, Vol 8, Collected Works,  Salt Lake City, Utah, FARMS 1989

Nibley, Hugh W. 3, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, Vol. 6 Collected Works, Deseret Book Company, FARMS, Provo, Utah 1988

Parry, Donald W., Daniel c. Peterson, and John W. Welch, Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, FARMS, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 2002

Porten, Bezalel, Archives from Elephantine: The life of an Ancient Jewish Military Colony, University of Californai Press, Berkely, 1968

Renfrew, Colin, Archaeology & Language: The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1988

Saggs, H.F.F., The Babylonians, The Folio Society, London, 1988

Shulman, Eliezer, The Sequence of Events in the Old Testament, Investment Co. of Bank Hapoalim and Ministry of Defense-Publishing House, Jerusalem 1987

Yon, Marguerite, Ugrit: 6,000 Years of History, Near Eastern Archaeology, Vol. 63 No. 4, Dec. 2000, American Schools of Oriental Research, Canton, MA

Young, Gordon D., ed., Ugarit In Retrospect: 50 Years of Ugarit and Ugaritic,  Eisenbrauns, Winon Lake, Indiana  1981

Weiss, Harvey, ed., Ebla to Damascus, Smithsonian, Washington 1985

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