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Category:Book of Mormon/Anthropology/Language/Hebraisms/Land of Jerusalem
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The "land of Jerusalem" in the Book of Mormon
Parent page: Book of Mormon/Anthropology/Language/Hebraisms
Peterson: "it is now plain that Bethlehem could be, and indeed anciently was, regarded as a town in the 'land of Jerusalem.'"
Daniel C. Peterson:
[The prophecy in Alma 7:10] has occasioned considerable amusement among uninformed critics of the book,...predicting that Jesus "shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem, which is the land of our forefathers." As everybody who knows anything at all about Christianity also knows, Jesus was born in the little town of Bethlehem. However, although identifying a "land of Jerusalem" as the birthplace of Jesus would have seemed an obvious mistake for at least a century after the publication of the Book of Mormon, it is now plain that Bethlehem could be, and indeed anciently was, regarded as a town in the "land of Jerusalem." A recently released text from the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example—a text claiming to have originated in the days of Jeremiah (and, therefore, in Lehi's time)—says that the Jews of that period were "taken captive from the land of Jerusalem."49 Texts discovered earlier in the twentieth century seem to include Bethlehem within that "land." Joseph Smith could not have learned this from the Bible, though, for no such language appears in it.
Nibley: "The land of Jerusalem is not the city of Jerusalem"
while the Book of Mormon refers to the city of Jerusalem plainly and unmistakably over sixty times, it refers over forty times to another and entirely different geographical entity which is always designated as "the land of Jerusalem." In the New World also every major Book of Mormon city is surrounded by a land of the same name.
The land of Jerusalem is not the city of Jerusalem. Lehi "dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days" (1 Nephi 1:4), yet his sons had to "go down to the land of our father's inheritance" to pick up their property (1 Nephi 3:16,22). The apparent anomaly is readily explained by the Amarna Letters, in which we read that "a city of the land of Jerusalem, Bet-Ninib, has been captured."17 It was the rule in Palestine and Syria from ancient times, as the same letters show, for a large area around a city and all the inhabitants of that area to bear the name of the city.18 It is taken for granted that if Nephi lived at Jerusalem he would know about the surrounding country: "I, of myself, have dwelt at Jerusalem, wherefore I know concerning the regions round about" (2 Nephi 25:6; italics added). But this was quite unknown at the time the Book of Mormon was written—the Amarna Letters were discovered in 1887. One of the favorite points of attack on the Book of Mormon has been the statement in Alma 7:10 that the Savior would be born "at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers" (italics added). Here Jerusalem is not the city "in the land of our forefathers"; it is the land. Christ was born in a village some six miles from the city of Jerusalem; it was not in the city, but it was in what we now know the ancients themselves designated as "the land of Jerusalem." Such a neat test of authenticity is not often found in ancient documents.
Chadwick: "one always went up to come to the Jerusalem region, and one always went down when exiting the Jerusalem region"
Jeffrey R. Chadwick: 
These observations are demonstrated by a three-step examination of Nephi's text: Nephi and his brothers returned from the valley of Lemuel up to the land of Jerusalem (1 Nephi 3:9). They then went down to the land of inheritance to collect Lehi's gold and silver (1 Nephi 3:16, 22). Finally, Nephi and his brothers returned back up again to Jerusalem (1 Nephi 3:23). It is important to remember that in the idiom of Nephi one always went up to come to the Jerusalem region, and one always went down when exiting the Jerusalem region. This is also the Hebrew idiom employed in the Bible, where persons in both the Old and New Testaments typically are said to go down to leave Jerusalem (see, for example, 2 Samuel 5:17; Luke 10:30; and Acts 8:15) and go up to come to Jerusalem (see, for example, 2 Chronicles 2:16 and Matthew 20:18). Nephi adhered to this Hebrew idiom throughout his account—whenever his party is reported to have gone to Jerusalem, they went up (see 1 Nephi 3:9; 4:4; 5:6; 7:3–4), and whenever the reference is to leaving the Jerusalem region, they went down (see 1 Nephi 2:5; 3:4, 16, 22; 4:35; 5:1; 7:2, 5).
- Daniel C. Peterson, "Not Joseph's, and Not Modern," 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 2, references silently removed—consult original for citations.
- Hugh W. Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, 3rd edition, (Vol. 6 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988), Chapter 8, references silently removed—consult original for citations, Template:Io.
- Jeffrey R. Chadwick, "Lehi's House at Jerusalem and the Land of His Inheritance," Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem (Neal A. Maxwell Institute, 2004)
Pages in category "Book of Mormon/Anthropology/Language/Hebraisms/Land of Jerusalem"
The following 3 pages are in this category, out of 3 total.