Category:Book of Mormon/Anthropology/Language/Hebraisms/Prepositions

Revision as of 19:02, 5 October 2014 by RogerNicholson (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Prepositions in the Book of Mormon

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

Compound Prepositions

Describing a characteristic feature of Hebrew grammar, Bruce K. Waltke and M. O'Connor write: "Compound prepositions are the result of the piling up of two or more simple prepositions. . . . Hebrew frequently piles up prepositions to represent more accurately the relation in question. . . . The combinations and their nuances are too numerous to catalog here."22

The expressions from before, from behind, and to behind are examples of compound prepositions from the Old Testament. For instance, "The Lord God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel" (Judges 11:23, emphasis added). Sometimes the compound preposition is lost in the English translation, as in 2 Kings 9:18, which reads "turn thee behind me," though the Hebrew literally reads "turn to behind me."

The Book of Mormon, with its Hebrew background, similarly features compound prepositions. For example, the expression from before is found in 1 Nephi 4:28; 11:12; 2 Nephi 9:8; Mosiah 17:4; Alma 44:12; and 3 Nephi 4:12. The latter reads, "And notwithstanding the threatenings and the oaths which Giddianhi had made, behold, the Nephites did beat them, insomuch that they did fall back from before them."[1]

Hebrew influence on Book of Mormon text: Interchangeable Prepositions

In biblical Hebrew, the prepositions that are translated in and to in English are often interchangeable. This would not usually work in English. In at least two Book of Mormon passages, the 1830 edition used to and in in ways that reflect the Hebrew usage, although later editions were changed to reflect the normal English use.

In 1 Nephi 7:12, the 1830 edition read "let us be faithful in him." Both in and to are possible in biblical Hebrew, but, when speaking of God, faithful in is usual. Faithful to is more normal in English, and in was changed to to in later editions of the Book of Mormon.

In 1 Nephi 17:14, the 1830 edition read "after ye have arrived to the promised land." Both in and to are possible in biblical Hebrew, but arrive to< is much more common. English prefers arrive at.[2]

Hebrew influence on Book of Mormon text: Compound Prepositions

Hebrew often uses compound prepositions, made up of a preposition plus a noun, in places where English would normally use just a preposition. For example, Hebrew uses compound prepositions that would be translated literally as by the hand of and by the mouth of. English would normally use just by. The Book of Mormon contains many examples that appear to show the influence of this Hebrew use of compound prepositions:

"ye shall be taken by the hand of your enemies" (Mosiah 17:18)
"I have also acquired much riches by the hand of my industry" (Alma 10:4)
"sold into Egypt by the hands of his brethren" (Alma 10:3)
"the words which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets" (1 Nephi 3:20)
"by the mouth of angels, doth he declare it" (Alma 13:22)

Hebrew uses another compound preposition that would be translated literally as from before the presence of or from before the face of. English would normally use simply from. The influence of the Hebrew can be seen in these Book of Mormon passages:

"they fled from before my presence" (1 Nephi 4:28)
"he had gone from before my presence" (1 Nephi 11:12)
"they were carried away . . . from before my face" (1 Nephi 11:29)[3]

Notes

  1. Donald W. Parry, "Hebraisms and Other Ancient Peculiarities in the Book of Mormon," 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 7, references silently removed—consult original for citations.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Pages in category "Book of Mormon/Anthropology/Language/Hebraisms/Prepositions"

The following 3 pages are in this category, out of 3 total.