John A. Tvedtnes, senior research associate at the Institute, presented a paper titled Hebrew Names in the Book of Mormon at the 13th annual World Congress of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem on 13 August 2001. His paper was well received, and some of the attendees offered him additional ideas. One of the speakers drew attention to several fourth-century-B.C. Jewish inscriptions found in the Bosphorus region, one of which names Saria wife of Man, Na daughter of Man. Sariah, the name of Lehi's wife, has previously been attested as a Jewish woman's name in one of the fifth-century-B.C. papyri discovered at Elephantine, Egypt. For the latter, see Jeffrey R. Chadwick, Sariah in the Elephantine Papyri, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/2 (1993): 296300; reprinted in John W. Welch and Melvin J. Thorne, eds., Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1999), 610.
As important as it is, Tvedtnes's paper is not the first positive study of the Book of Mormon to be presented at a scholarly conference in recent years. Papers on Book of Mormon topics have been presented by others at national and regional meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). Noted Book of Mormon researcher Angela Crowell has presented three papers at SBL meetings on the topics Biblical Hebrew Poetry in the Book of Mormon, A Comparative Study of Biblical Hebrew Sentence Structure in the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon, and A Comparative Reading of Homiletic and Narrative Midrash in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon.