The Language of the Original Text of the Book of Mormon | BYU Studies

The Language of the Original Text of the Book of Mormon

Volume 57:3 (2018)
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The Language of the Original Text of the Book of Mormon

Author Royal Skousen,

During the thirty years Royal Skousen has been working on the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project, he has discovered certain words and phrases that appear on the surface to be either ungrammatical or stylistically unusual. Some critics have claimed that these phrases are Joseph Smith’s dialect mixed with a crude imitation of the language of the King James Bible. But many of these phrases can be tied to Early Modern English, in use from 1530 to 1730. Skousen also identifies phrases from the King James Bible that are skillfully woven into the Book of Mormon text in unexpected ways as well as numerous issues that Protestants argued over during the 1500s and 1600s, such as infant baptism. Although the Book of Mormon contains elements from Early Modern English, it is not an Early Modern English text. It is unique.

This article summarizes examples and discussion found in parts three and four of volume three of the Critical Text publications, titled The Nature of the Original Language (NOL).