Book of Mormon/Language/Names/Irreantum

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    The name "Irreantum" in the Book of Mormon



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Paul Y. Hoskisson, with Brian M. Hauglid and John Gee,"What's In A Name: Irreantum", Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 11/1 (2002)

The greatest challenge for persons interested in the meanings of proper names in the Book of Mormon has to do with those names whose meanings we already know, such as Rameumptom, "the holy stand" (Alma 31:21); Rabbanah, "powerful or great king" (Alma 18:13); and Irreantum,1 "many waters" (1 Nephi 17:5). Six such names with their translations appear in the Book of Mormon.2 Determining their meanings etymologically is a challenge because any attempt to trace their ancient roots has to come to results that match the translations given in the Book of Mormon and do so without many complicated steps. After all, the ancient people who conferred these names most likely did so with ease, without convoluted linguistic manipulation. On the other hand, names that are not accompanied by a translation are open to any number of possible interpretations because the text does not require a specific outcome.

This study of the name Irreantum has been a double challenge, for the reason just given and also because it was necessary to delve into languages outside the Northwest Semitic language group. For the latter reason, I asked two of my colleagues at Brigham Young University, Brian M. Hauglid and John Gee, whose specialties are respectively Arabic and Egyptian, to contribute to this article.
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