The Psalm of Nephi: A Lyric Reading

Articles
Journal: 21:3

Because by far the greatest portion of the Book of Mormon is narrative—though admittedly in several different ways—other literary modes embedded in the narrative flow are less obvious and consequently less easily identified and read in terms of their own unique generic conventions. One such passage occurs in the fourth chapter of 2 Nephi, verses 16 though 35, a passage that is often referred to as the “Psalm of Nephi,” at least since Sidney Sperry provided this formulation in his commentary on the Book of Mormon. The question to be discussed with reference to these verses is not whether they are a psalm in the biblical sense of the term but rather the nature and extent of their poetic qualities and some of the most central interpretive implications inextricably connected with their lyricism.