Source:Rediscovering the Book of Mormon:Ch:8:12:Hebraisms:Naming conventions

Hebrew influence on Book of Mormon text: Naming Conventions

Parent page: Book of Mormon/Anthropology/Language/Names

Hebrew influence on Book of Mormon text: Naming Conventions

When a child is born, we say in English that his father and mother "called him X" or "named him X." The same is true in naming places, for example, "He called his ranch Pleasant Valley." But Hebrew expresses it quite differently: "He called the name of his son X." In Hebrew, it is the name that is "called," not the child or the place. Perhaps the best-known example from the Bible is the one found in Isaiah 7:14: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." This idiom is found in a number of places in the Book of Mormon:

"we did call the name of the place Shazer" (1 Nephi 16:13)
"and they called the name of the city Moroni" (Alma 50:13-14)
"he had three sons; and he called their names Mosiah, and
Helorum, and Helaman" (Mosiah 1:2)
"they called their names Anti-Nephi-Lehies" (Alma 23:17)[1]


  1. John A. Tvedtnes, "The Hebrew Background of the Book of Mormon," in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, edited by John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co.; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991), Chapter 8.