Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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He acts as the representative of heavenly messengers, is the source of revelation, inspiration and guidance and angels. Angels minister to the bishop.


Ancient Shuruppak, (Modern FARA, or FARAH), is situated on the bank of the Euphrates River in southern Iraq. It was one of the city states of [ancient] Sumer [called Shinar in Gen 11:2, 14:1] "Sumerian people entered this region [Shinar] c. 4000 BC." (Miller p. 677) Excavations by a German expedition in the first decade of the last century uncovered important remains of the Early Dynastic period. (about 3000 BC)  The temples produced a wealth of early documents, including administrative and school texts. (White house p. 463) Interest was drawn to ancient Shuruppak because of Tablets found at Ebla after 1977 with its very early East Semitic language, with parallel texts found at Shuruppak and Abu Salabikh. (Sasson p. 2120)  Shuruppak was about 75 miles south west of the Ancient City of Kish, almost half way from Kish to Ur, the city of Abraham, which was on the Persian Gulf. (See the July 2005 entry in this series on the Ancient City of Kish) "The earliest narrative and poetic texts date to the end of the Early Dynasty  'ED', [before] ( 2500 BC), and have been excavated primarily in two ancient cities: Fara (ancient Shuruppak) and Abu Salabikh (ancient name unknown). (Sasson p. 2281)  "During the third millennium BCE, traders from Early Dynastic Shuruppak (Fara) used metals as money." (Sasson p. 1491)  They called Silver, Kaspum, (Kspm). It is not known what the Nephites or Jaredites called silver, but in the Bible it is called kesep, (Ksp), (Sasson p. 1491) clearly related to the ancient name.


In 1902-3 the Deutsche [German] Orient-Gesellschaft excavated Fara for seven and a half months, using thirty experienced workmen from Babylon. The first find was registered on June 18, 1902. Another 130 workmen were hired on July 10, those rose to 200 by September 13.  The yet to be famous archaeologist R. Koldewey, lead the expedition; working out of Babylon. (Martin pp. 3-4)  Tablets discovered were eventually housed in the Staatliche Museum of Berlin, and the Istanbul Museum.  In 1931, in the spring, the University of Pennsylvania Museum Excavations at Fara under Erich Schmidt started using 140 workers, and excavated until May 15, 1931. Most of these were trenches as deep as 24 feet.  Improved techniques and understanding during the intervening 30 years permitted great advances in the knowledge of Shuruppak. (Martin pp. xxvii, 3, 131) But before 2001 only about 600 tablets had been translated (Martin p. xxvi-xxvii) A lot more tablets remain untranslated and unpublished. The published tablets cover the range of the Early Dynasties, including some tablets found after a destructive fire that destroyed the city in Ur-111 times, about 2000 BC.  (Martin p. 23) "Old Sumerian archives, predominantly of literary tablets, were found both at Shuruppak (Fara) and at Tell Abu Salabikh, in each case dispersed through several rooms of a building." (Sasson p. 2206)  A future study will be prepared on the discoveries at Tell Abu Salabikh.  

During its early period the city was one of the provincial capitals of the empire.  For a short time it was independent, at other times it was host to the military governor and generals. (Martin p. 23).  The high ranking God, Enlil, of Nippur, was in the pantheon of more than 100 Gods of Shuruppak.  The important thing is that Shuruppak was an important city at the time the Jaredites were present in the region so one should expect to find correlations and parallels in the tablets of Shuruppak with Jaredite names.  It is certain we do not have all of the Jaredite names, and likewise we do not have all the names used at Shuruppak.

There are the genealogies mentioned in the Brass Plates (l Ne. 3:3, 3:12, 5:14, 5:16, 6:l and 19:2) which go back to the time of Adam and the creation. Zarahemla gave a genealogy of his fathers (Omni l:l, 1.18) for how far back we do not know. Mahonri Moriancumer no doubt had a genealogy in the Jaredites records, but we do not have it, though the Nephites may have had access to names from it. It would have been great to have the genealogy of Coriantumr the last Jaredite King which no doubt was in Ether's record. (Ether 13:16)  It is equally certain that the names found so far in the published FARA tablets are only a few of those that were given in the population. And most certainly, over the nearly two thousand years of Jaredite history and 1000 years of Nephite History that there were many more names in the record than the 337 we now have.  To find parallels to any Book of Mormon name in ancient records of any kind is therefore of singular significance.  For one thing, it establishes that Joseph Smith did not just imagine the names.

The Book of Mormon is a recent text and could be considered a modern text, and yet not modern enough to exploit the fruits of archaeology. In view of the claims made by Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, "it can plead no immunity from the same exacting tests that have revealed the true nature of documents of known antiquity." (Nibley p. 4)  Does the Book of Mormon have authentic historical and geographical backgrounds?  Is its  expositions of doctrine and history real, highly imaginative, or extravagantly improbable?  Are its proper names convincing? (Nibley p. 4) In this study it is the proper names that interest us most, and the time period in which they may have been generated.  "The abridging and editing of the Book of Mormon was in a language known to no other people on earth but the Nephites." (Nibley p. 16)  The Jaredite language was Adamic, the significance of parallels to the Jaredite language suggests that archaic Aramaic and Semitic variations are related to the Adamic language.  Can the Book of Mormon rise or fall on the basis of just the names alone? These studies answer in the affirmative.  


The Book of Mormon is a compilation of many records, and abridged essentially by two men, Mormon and his son Moroni, but all of the record was translated into English by one man, Joseph Smith. "Upon seeing these strange words before him, how could the illiterate Joseph Smith have known how to pronounce them? And upon hearing them, how could his half-educated scribe have known how to write them down phonetically? Remember, these names are not translations into English like the rest of the book but remain bits of the authentic Nephite language [however it was altered by them].  Between them, the guesses of the prophet as to pronunciation and the guesses of Oliver Cowdery as to transcription would be bound to make complete havoc of the original titles. Only there was no guessing. According to David Whitmer and Emma Smith in interviews appearing in the Saints Herald, (Briggs p. 396-97) pointed out to the author by Preston Nibley, Joseph never pronounced the proper names he came upon in the plates during the translation but always spelled them out. Hence there can be no doubt that they are meant as they stand to be as accurate and authentic as it is possible to render them in our alphabet." (Nibley p. 31)  Nibley also points out that the Book of Mormon does give the right type of Hebrew names. Joseph had the bible for comparison for these names, but what about the other 337 names?  The names in the early Biblical record down until the time of the Flood would all have been Adamic names. As they stand, can they be confirmed in translations of ancient documents with correct chronological and historical perspectives? Can it be expected that the few tablets translated so far from ancient Shuruppak could contribute some positive irrefutable evidence along these lines?  


Scholars debate the dating of Mesopotamian sites, and have developed a HIGH, and a MIDDLE CHRONOLOGY until data becomes more accurate. The accompanying chart provides these dates. The chronology most preferred seems to be the MIDDLE CHRONOLOGY.  The site of Shuruppak seems to go back into what the Scholars call the Jemdet Nasr Period, which scholars put at about 3800 BC, or during the life of Adam. Some of the early tablets found at FARA come from the Early Dynastic period, or about 2900-2700 BC, most come from the occupation of the city from 2670-2370 BC. (Whitehouse p. 321)  The earliest tablets of Uric (Jemdet Nasr) were Sumerian. "Following these chronologically in the ‘archaic' series were, first a group of tablets found by Woolley during the 1920's, in a stratum preceding his ‘Royal Tomb' at Ur, and secondly inscriptions discovered by the German excavators, W. Andrac and R. Koldewey, at Farah (ancient Shuruppak), at the beginning of the [last] century. (Lloyd pp. 90-2)   The earlier part of this period is the approximate time the Jaredites would have been in the region. Additional finds of tablets come from before and down to the Ur-111 period about 2000 BC.  (Whitehouse p. 321)  By then the Jaredites were gone, but the early names they would have emulated would still have been preserved in the ruins and tablets of Shuruppak.   

The southern Mesopotamian cities where characterized by the great ziggurats.  The temples and ritual monuments were on the high ground, and not often in the center of the city. At Shuruppak the temple-ziggurat was located at the periphery of the city, on the high ground (like Mormon Temples and Central American pyramids) serving as a visual focus. (Sasson p. 238)  From Shuruppak came some of the oldest ‘cylinder-seals', grouped around inscriptions, from what is called the Farah Period [ED l]. (Lloyd p. 110). This places FARA, or the ancient city of Shuruppak, within a time frame of great interest, between 2600 to 2000 BC, a time when great civilizations and City States were developing, including Agade, Akkad, Ebla, Mari, Nippur, Ur, and others, from which documentary discoveries have been or are being made that provide names to compare with the 337 unique names of the Book of Mormon, with astonishing and important  parallels.

The term, Early Dynastic Period (ED. 1) comes from the Sumerian ‘King List' which implies that Sumer was ruled by kings at this time.  The Dynastic Period is generally divided into three periods:  ED-l, ED-11, and ED-111, each lasting about 200 years. The fabulous and rich Royal Tombs of Ur, one of the four great treasure finds of the world, belong to ED-111.  It does seem that the Early Dynastic periods shows clear continuity from the preceding Jemdet Nasr Period, which itself goes back to 3800 BC. (Whitehouse p. 320)  Or about the time Adam's children spread throughout the world. By the time of the Early Dynastic period pictographic writing of the earlier period developed into the standardized cuniform script, based on a Semitic Language, or Archaic Aramaic. "Even in the archaic texts from Fara, Abu Salabikh and Nippur, all later than those from Jemdet Nasr, there are some which are written differently from texts which can be read as Sumerian, giving the possibility that they were in a[n older] language other than Sumerian." (Saggs 34)  The earliest Wisdom literature extant from Mesopotamia is a Sumerian text from the mid-third millennium known as ‘The Instructions of Shuruppak', which, like other examples from both Mesopotamia and Egypt, is in the form of advice from a father to his son... The most common type of Wisdom literature in Sumerian is the proverb." (Saggs p. 352)  Not unlike those found in the bible.


"The Sumerians, like the Israelites, had a tradition of a great Flood, but they held that their history began even earlier. Their King List knew of five cities-Eridu, Bad-tibira, Larak, Sippar, and Shuruppak--so ancient that they existed before the Flood." (Saggs p. 26)  "The ancient city of Eridu flourished before the King List's first post--diluvial dynasty--Kish-rose to prominence.  The settlements of Eridu and Uruk were abandoned well before the Early Dynastic period. Kish did not become a major city until the Jemdet Nasr Period which preceded the rise of Shuruppak. Kish established some kind of hegemony over Sumer by 2500 BC; its ruler took the title lugal, which consecrated this preeminence. The Sumerian King List asserts that after the Flood kingship was once again ‘let down from heaven', Lighted first upon Kish."  (Saggs p. 26-27)  See the site maps for city locations. (See Erickson, the web site study on The Ancient City of Kish, the Jaredites and the Brass Plates, August 2005) "Although the greater part of Sumerian literature is known from eighteenth-century manuscripts, it now appears that this corpus was established mostly in the Early Dynastic Period." (Sasson p. 809) and shows up in the Shuruppak Tablets. 

"The flood story was centered around the city of Shuruppak, and tells of a king who survived a devastating flood in a great boat and was rewarded with immortality by the gods....The hero of the story was named Ziusudra (in Akkadian versions, Utnapishtim), meaning ‘he who has eternal life.' The flood story makes up one of the episodes in the greatest of all stories from Mesopotamia, the Gilgamesh Epic" (Chadwick p. 40)

In the Gilgamesh epic, Gilgamesh has a gnawing anxiety of thoughts of death and asks Utanapishtim: "‘tell me,' he asked, ‘how it is that you have acquired eternal life?'" (Saggs p. 319)  In reply Utanapishtim related to Gilgamesh the celebrated story of the Deluge:


‘I will reveal to you, O Gilgamesh, a secret matter; Yes, I will tell you a secret of the Gods, Shuruppak, a city that you know yourself, That was set on the bank of the Euphrates, That city was ancient, and within it were the gods. The great gods felt driven to make a Deluge... Man of Shuruppak, son of Ubar-tutu, Pull down your house, build a ship!" (Saggs p. 319-20)  A complete translation of the Epic is provided by Pritchard. (Pritchard  pp. 40-80) The Parallels to the Biblical Account were noticed when the tablets were first translated. You know the rest of the story.   Nibley discusses the Epic background of the Jaredites in his study. (Nibley pp. 350-394) Gilgamesh "struggles to understand the nature of the gods, and travels across the great Symbolic Sea to meet the man who survived the Flood" (Meinhardt p. 50) and who has eternal life.

"Gilgamesh is at once our newest and our oldest, most venerable epic poem."  Stephen Mitchell has provided the latest translation of this epic, certainly the finest that is now available. (Meinhardt pp. 38-50)  Portions of the Epic were first deciphered in the 1870's  from tablets collected at the British Museum by George Smith, the tablet Smith was working was broke off at about the point when the "ship rested on the mountains of Nizer, followed by the account of the sending forth of the dove, and its finding no resting place and returning."  (see Smith, The Chaldean Account of Genesis)  Smith himself went to the region to examine the dig, and astonishingly found the rest of the tablet so he could complete the Epic. There are now 73 accounts of the Standard Babylonian Version.

"It appears that early in the third millennium BC, a flood did occur, one whose memory was embellished and perpetuated by myth-makers and storytellers of the time. The story proved so popular that it became part of the Standard Sumerian and Akkadian literary repertoire. Eventually, it found its way into the mythology of a number of ancient peoples, and into the Old Testament of the bible." (Chadwickp. 41)  It is easily understood why scholars, without a knowledge of the great early dispensations of Adam and Enoch and Noah, would conclude that the Bible, not assembled until nearly 800 BC, or later, took its account of the flood from these ancient Epics. The need of a restoration was evident. The Pearl of Great Price accomplishes much of this, Joseph Smith's restored teachings did the rest.  

Those interested in the organization, life, and commerce systems of Shuruppak can pursue it in Visicato's study. (Martin p. 115-127)  The main interest here is in the names.



1.   gal A-gal-tuku, nir-gal Gilgal

Gal-ga-uru, ab-gal Gallim

Lu-gal, gisgal-si

Lu-gal-a-na, kinda-gal


Nin-ig-gal, a-ki-gal

Gis-gal-si, ge-gal

e-gal, eusun-gal

e-lugal, nin-e-za-gal

nimgir-gal, gu-gal

a-gal-tuku, gal-ba-bi

ur-ig-gal, gal-an-dab

Gal, Ur-ig-gal



2.   gib Gibil Gibeah



3.   gid ur-gid-ri Gid,Giddonah

Giddianhi, Gideon




4.   gad na-gada Gad, Gadiandi




5.   ab adab, Ab Abel, Abinadi, Abish

Sar-ra-ab-du Abinadom, Ablom

Abzu-pa Abraham



6.   lam- Lamma, Lumma Lamah, Laman

Mes-lam Lamanite, Lamoni


7.   Ama- Ama-usum-gal Amaleki, Amalekite

Ama-abzu-si Amalickiah, Amaron

8.   el- elum Elam

9.   -um e-usum, e-usum-gal Coriantum

Re-lum Coriantumr

em-lirum Helorum

10.  amar amar-ezen, amar-su Amaron

amar-eden, amar-sun

amar-abzu, amar-nam




11.   pag- pagestini Pagag

12.   pa- pa-bil-ga, pa-nu-kus Pachus

Pa-gestin, Ur-nin-pa Pacumeni

Pa-nu-la Pahoran

Pa-ur-sag Palestina

From the records now available, we have charted on the left column the ancient Semitic construct elements that make up the ancient Shuruppak names.  Then the names found on the ancient tablets in which these elements appear are listed in the middle column. Last, the names found in the Book of Mormon that contain these same construct elements are listed. If the Book of Mormon names were not real ancient names, there would be no listing of any kind from the Book of Mormon.  Under the most visionary and wildest imaginative conjurations how could Joseph Smith have come up with names that would be parallel to those found in this nearly five thousand year old civilization?


In two previous studies in this series considerable explanation of the construct and consonantal name Elements have been provided, and the development of names through the Onomastic rules including prefix-root-suffix elements making up any given name. One of these was ELEPHANTINE NAME PARALLELS, 18 Feb, 2005, and THE ANCIENT CITY OF MARI AND THE BOOK OF MORMON NAMES, June 29 2005.  These may be referred to for detail not repeated in the explanation to be given for this study.  There is an important difference in the Construct elements defined and charted in those two studies and the present work on Shuruppak. In the earlier studies most of construct elements are Consonantal groupings, with few vowels.  In the Shuruppak tablets from a much earlier period the names are translated from cuniform tablets with some guides for the use of vowels and vocalization of the names; so the construct elements and names that appear in the published accounts include the vowels.  Therefore in the above chart, the construct elements include the vowelizations providing a more complete name with the prefix-root and suffix elements, with a more complete construct than the use of only consonants provides. This means that any parallel in the Book of Mormon would be specific.

Look at the construct elements ‘gal' ‘gid' and ‘gad'  The consonantal elements used in Hebrew and Egyptian and a few other Semitic languages,  would be only ‘gd' or ‘gl' for these three elements. In the Book of Mormon there are names that utilize all three of these elements, differentiated by the different vowels and consonantal constructs. The same is true for names from Shuruppak. Notice the distinct Book of Mormon names for each. What a difference there would have been if Joseph had got the elements confused, or if the ancient cuniform translations did not provide the vowels in a sense that would make comparison to Book of Mormon names possible with some sensibility. This is a solid affirmation that the names were authentic.

The question is, did Joseph Smith realize this?  When he spelled out all of the names from the Book of Mormon, he could not have known that for the earlier names, especially those in the Jaredite records, or handed down from the same ancient times as the Jaredite presence in the Mesopotamian area, that his spelling must agree with the way the vowels were included in the translation that would be made from the transliterations of the tablets in whatever language was represented on the tablets and then translation into English,  or it would be most difficult to make comparisons with ancient names, and in some instances impossible. .


1)  gal- The first constructs and elements employed in ancient names at Shuruppak, are the elements ‘gal'.  They can be used as a prefix, root, or suffix as is illustrated in the many examples taken from the Shuruppak tablets. ‘Gal' is second only to the use of ‘Amar' in the names from Shuruppak.  Of course, the names we have are only a small sample, and clearly would not represent all of the names. Many more names will no doubt emerge as translation and discoveries continue at Shuruppak.  The construct ‘Lu-gal' is also of  common use as one of the pantheon of Gods, ‘Lu' ‘leader, or head', later ‘God',  as a prefix is found in many names. Lugal was the name rulers at Kish took on at an early time. Many names honoring this name used Lugal as a Prefix. The early names of Sumer and surrounding regions were more complex than names at a later date.  However, the elements ‘Gal' are found in two Book of Mormon names: Gallim found in 2 Nephi20:30, where it is used as a prefix, and in Gilgal where it is used as a suffix, just as it is used for both prefix and suffix in the Shuruppak names. The name Gilgal (compare this name with Gilgah, (second son of Jared) is found in Ether three times as the name of a valley. (Ether 13:27, 29, 30).  At Shuruppak, Gal also stands alone just as a name. The name Gaal, in Hebrew  (Gl)  means ‘contempt' and is found in Judges l:26. Gal, and Gaal, would be the same. At Shuruppak, Gal is included in the name of Gods and the names of Temples, as well as personal names. (Martin p. 133)  It is also included in the name of a profession, gisgal-si. (Martin p. 134)  In ancient Western Semitic it means ‘to be apparent, revealed, redeemed' and in Ancient Akkadian it means ‘boss' or ‘head'. These meanings are consistent for the use of these elements in names involving diety or what diety does. (Radner p. 419) It would have been common enough that the Jaredites would have picked it up for use in future names.

2)  The second construct elements are ‘gib'.  They appear as prefix and root elements in the construction of names at Shuruppak, (Martin p. 85) and as a prefix in the Book of Mormon name Gibeah,  (2 Ne 20:29, 1 Sam 11:4) and may even have been found in the Brass Plates. The Prosopography of a sales contract of FARA lists ‘ur-gib-el' as a participant. (Martin p. 159)  The ‘ur' is a diety prefix appended to many names in ancient Sumer.  The actual name would have been Gibel, the ‘el' suffix was also a diety abbreviation or hypocoristica for Elohim, making the name a Theophoric name. In ancient Shuruppak, Gibil is both the name of a God, and the name of a Temple. (Martin p. 133)  Because the elements and name appear in so many variations and for different things besides just names, the Jaredites would have no doubt picked up on the elements easily. It is fairly certain that such names and elements were also included in the Brass Plates.   

3)  The third construct elements are ‘Gid'. While only one name among those available from the translated tablets of Shuruppak has these elements, ‘Gid', they are also found in contemporary Akkadian records after the flood but during the time of Shuruppak, including Gidaia, and Gidgiddanu. (Radner o, 422) Compare these with Gidgiddonah  (Mormon 6:13) and Gidgiddoni  (3 Nephi 3:18 and elsewhere) These names are of such unusual construction with the double use of Gid, that they further confirm that ancient names and constructs were available to the Jaredites.  Note the Book of Mormon names, they are very specific. In Ancient Akkadian, the usage of the double form Gidgid is frequently used: Gidgiddanau, Gidgida, Gidgiddaani, Giddagidau, even a town was called Gidgidani. (Radner p. 422)  Compare these names with those from the Book of Mormon!  These are remarkable parallels.

4)   Gad, these elements are found as a prefix, especially in Book of Mormon names as listed, and as a root, as in the name na-gada from Shuruppak, with the theophoric ending of ‘a'.  Gad means ‘fortune' and is found in the Tanakh, and therefore most likely is in the Brass Plates, especially as the name of the ancestor of the tribe of Gad, the seventh son of Jacob. (Mandel p. 165).  It is a perfect parallel. It is also found as the prefix in many ancient West Semitic names, and as the name Gad, it is a perfect parallel. . (Radner pp. 417-418) 

5)   ab-   As  frequent prefix elements, Ab, meaning ‘Father', they are common in most of the Semitic Languages; first mentioned in the name of Abel in Genesis 4:2 where that name means ‘emptiness, vanity, vapor'. (Mandel p. 4)  There are many Biblical names that have this prefix. (Mandel pp. 4-20)  The various names from the Book of Mormon with this prefix are as listed. (see the before mentioned web site studies on Mari and Elephantine names). The prefix is extremely common in West Semitic and ancient Akkadian names making up some twenty pages of names with that prefix. (Radner pp. 1-20).

6)   lam-  These three elements appear in four names from Shuruppak and four names form the Book of Mormon.  These elements appear in Western Semitic, Akkadian, from the time of Assurbanipal, and from Libyan sources as well.  A common prefix, in general it means ‘why'.  When used in the Book of Moron name of Laman, the ‘an' ending is a hypocoristicon for God, and the names means: ‘Why God'?  Clearly the name provides an enduring description of Laman's attitude.  It also has the meaning when  the suffix differs of  ‘unforgettable', or as in the name ‘Lamarianu' it means ‘For the Lord', that is exactly what Laman should have been:  ‘for the Lord' instead of a cynic. (Baker pp 651-652)

7)   Ama-  These elements are a common prefix not only in Ancient Shuruppak, but also in ancient Iranian, Akkadian, and later Arabic. (Radner pp. 97-98) and therefore should show up in Book of Mormon names. They would be both in the Jaredite records as well as in the Brass Plates. The names from Shuruppak and the Book of Mormon are listed, there are too many names to list from the other sources mostly contemporary with Shuruppak.  There are Hebrew names similar to the Book of Mormon names, such as Amalek (Genesis 36:12) and Amaleki (Omni 1:2, et al.).  The only difference between the two names is that the Book of Mormon name has a hypocoristicon of ‘i' representing Jehovah as a suffix, making it a theophoric name, otherwise they are identical. Other names are identified and listed from the Tenakh.  (Mandel pp. 46-48)  There is no way that Joseph could have understood the rules of abbreviations for God and the construction of Theophoric names; especially by the simple addition of an ‘i' ending,  but he was correct in all such names attested to in the Book of Mormon.

8)   el-   These two elements have been discussed in the study on Elephantine previously referred to.  They are the abbreviation, or hypocoristicon for Elohim, and when used anciently they refer to God.  "The Yahweh [Jehovah] -related elements only slightly outnumber el-names in the bible (about 130/120), as apposed to the 7/1 ratio in the extrabiblical sources analyzed above [by Pardee].  This is probably owing to the inclusion in the bible of older, non-yahwistic sources from before the establishment of full-blown yahwism; the inscriptions of a vast majority of which date from the last century of the existence of Judah, represent the relative triumph of yahwism." (Pardee p. 129)  This led to the apostate monothiestic beliefs of later Judaism and the inability of the Jews to accept the Christ as the Messiah. (Klinghoffer) "In the extra-biblical sources, the abbreviated forms of Yahweh are by far the most common theophoric elements." (Pardee p. 126)  After the flood there was a limited return to Yahwism during the reign of Eber in Ebla which only lasted about three generations, then grievous apostasy crept in with the development of as many as 500 gods in the Pantheons of the Mesopotamian-Syria region.

"The list of names used in the Hebrew Bible...include el, eloh, yah, Yahweh, eloyn, and sadday. One should perhaps include adonay, which began as a title and developed into a divine name that eventually replaced Yahweh in the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. ...there are many compounds, especially with el, such as el elyon, el sadday, el berit, el olam, el roi, and with yahweh, ...yahwe sebaot ‘Yahweh of Hosts.' ...all are attested in various extra biblical texts: el throughout the ancient Near East, eloah at Ugarit and in Arabic, Elohim in Hebrew inscriptions and at Ugarit, Yahweh in Hebrew and Moabite inscriptions, eloyon in Old Aramaic and sadday perhaps in Ugaritic." (Pardee pp. 124-12)  However, in Shuruppak and in the Book of Mormon, el is seldom used. In the Book of Mormon, the designation Father or Eternal Father is used instead of Elohim, which is a proper understanding of Father by all of his spirit children now on earth as mortals.  The changes seemed to have occurred after the Jaredites had left the region. The occurrences of the preferential use of Father in the Book of Mormon are tabulated. (Ricks pp. 235-238).  There are Biblical names included in the Book of Mormon, such as Samuel, Immanuel, Ishmael, with his abbreviated Yahweh ending, and there is also Lemuel, with the same suffix ending, the name Lemeul also means, ‘Why God'?  and is found in Proverbs 31:l. (Mandel p. 319)  There are 110 names or titles by which Christ is known in the Book of Mormon,  The name Jehovah for Christ is only used twice in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 22:2, and Moro 10:34)  So, the Book of Mormon characterized the Father and his Son Jesus Christ by references directly to the Father and to Jesus or Christ.  This has profound theological significance and shows the intimate relationship of those two members of the Godhead with the peoples of the Book of Mormon, from the Jaredites to the Nephites. Can this relationship be found in any other religious literature?  And if we include that Nephi actually saw the spirit man, the Holy Ghost, (l Nephi 11:11) and spake with him man to man, then it puts the entire Godhead in a special relationship with the peoples of the Book of Mormon, unmatched in any other religious literature.

9.  -um   Notice the use of the ending -um in Shuruppak names, as well as name from the Book of Mormon. "A well known peculiarity of Book of Mormon names is that a very large percentage of them end in -m or -n [or um], a glance at a name-list will show that this mimation is overwhelming favored for Jaredite names, while nunation [ending in -n] is the rule for Nephite and Lamanite ones. Jirku has declared that it is now known for certain that mimation was still current in the Semitic dialects of Palestine and Syria between 2100 and 1800 BCE., when the nominative (the subjective) case singular still ended in -m. From the 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. [But the Jaredites and the Nephites did not know this and kept on using them]. This old -m ending is preserved in the Bible only in a few pre-Hebrew words, used in incantations and spells: Teraphim [angels], Sanwerim, [Seraphim], Urim, and Thummim." (Nibley p. 98)  The records of Shuruppak show that mimation, especially the use of the -um was in use seven to eight hundred years before Jirku's recognition of mimation in the ancient records. The parallel here is that the Jaredite records show that mimation was also in use before the flood and before the Tower of Babel, as is also indicated by the names from Shuruppak, and that the unique use in names by the Jaredites and the names of Shuruppak was the inclusion of the form of -um.  Nibley concludes:  "To judge by the proper names in the Book of Mormon, the language of the Jaredites was related to a pre-Hebrew mimated language [this would be the Adamic Language] that has left its marks in a few very old and holy words in the Old Testament." (Nibley Vol 8, p. 98)  But especially in the Jaredite names as listed in the chart above. The Jaredites added on other unique element to this powerful parallel. They added in the name of Corientumr (Omni 1:21) the ending suffix -r, and in the name of the great Jaredite, Mahonri Moriancumer, (Largey p. 546) the ending ‘-er'. This ending as discussed in previous studies means to ‘see'. The -um proceeding the -er suffix means God, so the interpretation of the name would be: ‘Morianc  - ‘sees -  god'.  A profound experience that was Moriancumer's privilege to have. Corientumr was the 18th descendent of Jared. Later, another Corientumr was the last King of the Jaredites, he may or may not have had such an experience, but the name ending was retained, and Nephites picked up on the name and the ending after the records of Coriantumr were interpreted by Mosiah. (Omni 1:21)  Chapters 12, 13, 14, and 15, of Ether, deal with the events in the life of this last Corientumr.  Why did Ether spend so much space in his records on this man?

10)  amar   This is an interesting prefix, it is found abundantly in the Shuruppak names. Note the many names listed, this prefix thus has great antiquity.  It is found in the Book of Mormon but only in the writings of Mormon (Moro 9:7). It could have come down into Nephite times through any of the various genealogies mentioned. The fact that it is even in the Book of Mormon is remarkable.  In the name Amaron the ending or suffix ‘on' is a hypocoristica or abbreviation for God. The original name would have been Amar. It is not found in the Jewish Tanakh, so it did not come from a Jewish or Biblical source. It is found in the Ancient City of Amarna. (Hess p. 1)  The Tablets of Amarna and the Amarna Personal Names, because they cover the ancient history of the Near East will be the subject of a separate study in the future. The Amarna tablets record the first expressions of Assyria's independence from Babylonia; the final decades of the Kingdom of Mitanni, and reveal some thing of the Hurrian influence there, The tablets also include  letters from the Hittite empire and from Egyptian Rulers- a rich trove indeed. The important thing is that the Book of Mormon opens the doors into the study of all of the ancient cities and empires of the Near and Middle East, and wherever tablets are found, there is sure to be some parallel to the names in the Book of Mormon. The prefix Amar is also found in West Semitic names such as Amar-Assur.  And old  Akkadian names such as Amar-ili. (Radner p. 98)  Amar as a prefix was also being used down to 700 BC in Nippur in Southern Mesopotamia, in the name Amar-utu. (Cole p. 269) If we had more of the Jaredite records it is certain that many more names would have had this prefix.  Because the northern ten tribes were in contact with the Amorites and West Semitic groups, no doubt the Brass Plates contained names with this prefix.

11)  pag   These unusual prefix elements show up unexpectedly in Shuruppak, in the name pagestini, and how astonishing it is to find the same prefix, in proper form, in the Book of Mormon name Pagag.  It also shows up in ancient Akkadian in the name Pagu-ili-usur. (Baker p. 979) Pag means ‘Protect', the suffixes will stipulate what is to be protected, mostly Gods. (Baker p. 979)  Important for the confirmation of the Brass Plates, is the use of Pag in the name Pagiel (Numbers l:13) in the Tanakh, which means ‘accident of God' (Mandel p. 419) but the interest here is that Pagiel was a leader of the tribe of Asher during the Exodus. So the prefix is ancient, and goes back to the time of the Patriarchs and was given by Jacob as a name for one of his 12 sons. The Brass Plates no doubt carried a large baggage of names that showed up during Nephite times, and included the name of this leader of the tribe of Asher. After all it is essentially a history kept by the Ten Tribes. The final line is that Pagag, a Book of Mormon name is authentic, the prefix Pag having historical roots of great antiquity and was included in the names from Shuruppak.

12)  pa   These unusual elements differs from the one above, in that the prefix is just ‘pa'.   But in the Shuruppak it can also appear in names as a suffix such as in the name Ur-nin-pa.  In the listed Book of Mormon names it is always a prefix.  The root elements, bil, nu, and ur, if removed from the Shuruppak names would make them Paga, Pala, Pasag, and Pakus.  The last is almost equal to the Book of Mormon name Pachus; all would be proper names. There is a late Assyrian name Pahenu, and an Akkadian name Pahharu, and an Egyptian name Pahi, and  7th century BC names Pahime and Palalku. The prefix was very popular, it also shows up as Palahu in Akkadian, and many compound names in Akkadian shows its great antiquity. (Baker pp. 979-983)  So the Book of Mormon names were not pretentious, but authentic ancient names, transmitted from ancient times in the Jaredite records, and transmitted through the records of the northern tribes in the Brass Plates, and the many genealogies mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Clearly Joseph in the translation activity had to be extremely sensitive to the process of spelling out the names because the loss or addition of even one letter would have changed things greatly.

All of the above is based on the prefix-root-suffix elements found at Shuruppak and a few other related discovery areas. If we had more names, and in the future we no doubt will have, more such elements may have been added to the list and more comparisons to Book of Mormon names could have been given.  The future bodes very well for Book of Mormon name research.


Baker, Heather, The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Vol. 2/11m L-N,  The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, University of Helsinki, Finland, 2001

Briggs, E.C., Saints Herald (21 June 1884), quoted by Nibley.

Chadwick, Robert, First Civilizations: Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, Equinox Publishing Ltd., London, 2005

Cole, Steven W., The Early Neo-Babylonian Governor's Archive From Nippur, Oriental Institute Publications Vol. 114, University of Chicago, Illinois, 1996

Hess, Richard S., Amarna Personal Names, Dissertation Series 9,  American Schools of Oriental Research, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana 1993

Hunt, Norman Bancroft, Historical Atlas of Ancient Mesopotamia, Checkmark Books, New York, 2004

Kinghoffer, David, Why the Jews Rejected Jesus, Double Day, New York, 2005

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

Lloyd, Seton, The Archaeology of Mesopotamia, Thames and Hudson, London 1978

Martin,  Harriet P., Francesco Pomponio, Giuseppe Visicato, Aage Westenholz, The Fara Tablets in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology CEL Press, Bethesda, Md, 2001

Miller, Madeleine S., Harper's Bible Dictionary, Harper &  Row, New York, 1973

Meinhardt, Jack, Gilgamish, Odyssey, July/Aug 2005, Red Oak, Ia  

Nibley, Hugh, Vol 5, Lehi in the Desert-The World of the Jaredites-There were Jaredites, Deseret Book Company, FARMS, BYU, Provo, Utah, 1988

................., Vol 8, The Prophetic Book of Mormon, FARMS, BYU, Provo, Utah. 1998

Pardee, Dennis,  Names from Ebla from a West Semitic Perspective, Ed. By Alfonso Archi, in Archivi Reali Di Ebla, Studi l, Missione Archaeologica Italiana in Siria, 1988, 

Pritchard, James B., The Ancient Near East Vol. 1.  Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1958

Radner, Karen, The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Vol. 1/11 B-G, The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, University of Helsinki, Finland, 1999

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

Sasson, Jack M., Ed. Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, Vol l & 2, Hendrickson,  Peabody, Mass., 2000

Whitehouse,  Ruth D., Ed.  The Facts on File Dictionary of Archaeology, Facts on File Publications, New York, 1983  

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