FAIR is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of the doctrine, practice, and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Category:Book of Mormon/Plants/Sheum
"Sheum" in the Book of Mormon
Parent page: Book of Mormon/Plants
Sorenson: "northern Mesopotamia, which is where the name she'um was at home in language of the third millennium BC"
John L. Sorenson: 
When they departed from Mesopotamia, the Jaredite party moved to a "valley which was northward," one named after Nimrod the "mighty hunter" (Ether 2:1; compare Genesis 10:8-9). The preparation at that location for their epic journey to the seashore (Ether 2:5-6) included collecting "seeds of every kind" (v. 3). The area where they most likely obtained their seeds was northern Mesopotamia, which is where the name she'um was at home in languages of the third millennium BC.....In Mesoamerica the name might be lined to ixim (prnounced eesheem), the most common term for maize in Mayan languages. 
Smith: Sheum is "a precise match for Akkadian [she'um], 'barley' (Old Assyrian 'wheat'), the most popular ancient Mesopotamian cereal-name"
Robert F. Smith:
[Sheum is] a precise match for Akkadian [she'um], 'barley' (Old Assyrian 'wheat'), the most popular ancient Mesopotamian cereal-name
Roper: "This term, se um, (the s is pronounced sh in semitic languages) was a term by which these ancient Near Eastern peoples referred to barley"
According to Zeniff’s record in the Book of Mormon account, “And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum” (Mosiah 9:9). “Pray tell me what kinds of grain neas and sheum are? Joseph Smith’s translation needs another translation, to render it intelligible.”  “We must reluctantly pass on denying the existence of neas and sheum, and put them into the same category as the unidentifiable cureloms and cumoms.”  As it turns out sheum is a perfectly good Akkadian (ancient northern Mesopotamian) name for a grain dating to the third millennium B.C.  This term, se um, (the s is pronounced sh in semitic languages) was a term by which these ancient Near Eastern peoples referred to barley, although it could also be applied to other kinds of grains. Book of Mormon peoples seem to have applied this Old World name to some New World crop. Could Joseph Smith have derived this name from some nineteenth century book? Impossible. Akkadian could not be read until 1857, twenty-seven years after the Book of Mormon was published and thirteen years after the Prophet was dead. This raises an interesting question. If Joseph Smith was really the author of the Book of Mormon, how did he come up with the word sheum? How did he just happen to choose this particular name and just happen to use it in an agricultural context? 
Livingstone: "the evidence allows but does not require the existence of a word se'um, 'barley'"
If this [u'um] was the common word in Babylonian then it is more than likely that it also existed in Old Akkadian and could then have existed along with se, 'barley', as a loanword in Sumerian. ... In summary, the evidence allows but does not require the existence of a word se'um, 'barley'. It does, however, manifestly require the existence of a word u'um. 
Material culture in the Book of Mormon: Sheum
John L. Sorenson,
Zeniff, ruler over an enclave of Nephites who settled among the Lamanites in the land of Nephi around the beginning of the second century BC, reported that among the crops they cultivated, which included corn, wheat, and barley, was one called sheum, a term for which Joseph Smith provided no translation (see Mosiah 9:9). Just in the last forty years we have learned that the most important cereal grain among the Akkadians (Babylonians) of Mesopotamia was called she'um.45 The Jaredites of the Book of Mormon, who had originally lived in Mesopotamia, could have put the name on some cultivable plant they encountered in their new land; some of their undocumented descendants may well have passed the name and whatever grain it labeled down to the Zeniffites.
- John L. Sorenson, Mormon's Codex (Salt Lake City, Utah: Neal A. Maxwell Institute, 2013), 304–305. ISBN 9781609073992.
- See John L.Sorenson, Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life (Provo, UT: Research Press, 1998), 24-25. Cited in Sorenson, Mormon's Codex note 5.
- Robert F. Smith, "Some 'Neologisms' from the Mormon Canon," Conference on the Language of the Mormons 1973, Brigham Young University Language Research Center, 1973, 66.
- Origen Bacheler, Mormonism Exposed, 14.
- Latayne Colvett Scott, The Mormon Mirage: A former Mormon tells why she left the Church (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1979), 84.
- Hildegard Lewy, “On Some Old Assyrian Cereal Names,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 76/4 (October-December 1956): 201-204.
- Matthew Roper, "Right on Target: Boomerang Hits and the Book of Mormon," Proceedings of the 2001 FAIR Conference (August 2001).
- Alasdair Livingstone, "The Akkadian Word for Barley: A Note from the Schoolroom," Journal of Semitic Studies, 42:1, (1997)
- John L. Sorenson, "How Could Joseph Smith Write So Accurately about Ancient American Civilization?," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), Chapter 9, references silently removed—consult original for citations.
Pages in category "Book of Mormon/Plants/Sheum"
The following 5 pages are in this category, out of 5 total.
- Source:Echoes:Ch9:10:Material culture - sheum
- Source:Livingstone:Journal of Semitic Studies:42:1:se'um
- Source:Robert F. Smith:Some 'Neologisms' from the Mormon Canon:Sheum
- Source:Roper:Right on Target: Boomerang Hits and the Book of Mormon:FairMormon Conference 2001:Sheum
- Source:Sorenson:Mormon' Codex:304:Jaredites likely obtained seeds of she'um in northern Mesopotamia