NEW REPRINTS AND PRELIMINARY REPORTS
With each Newsletter, several new papers become available to you. We think you will find several of these very interesting. Each can be ordered on the attached order form.
Each month a Monthly Update is sent out to all our major contributors and active volunteers. These are state-of-the-art short studies reporting our most recent discoveries and current work in process. The Updates for 1984 have addressed such topics as two Egyptian statuettes found in El Salvador, a likey identification of the name MalkiYahu in the book of Jeremiah as the name of Mulek son of Zedekiah, ancient magnetic compasses and the Liahona, survivors in Nazi death camps and the Book of Mormon, the Land of Jerusalem as the place of Jesus' birth, evidence of the horse in anceint America, why Nephi made arrows as well as a bow, Israelite Passover in the Book of Mormon, seven significant results of our Text Critical Project, possible metallurgical composition and weight of the golden plates, an ancient Jewish parallel to the execution of Zemnariah in 3 Nephi, and the discovery of pre-Columbian domesticated barley in Arizona. All the Updates from 1984 are collected here in a single set. Each concise reports makes fascinating easy reading.
We know from 1 Nephi 1:16 that Lehi wrote "many things." But what were they? In his article Lehi's Personal Record: Quest for a Missing Source, recently published in BYU Studies, Kent Brown traces the clues and concludes that the book of Lehi was "an important influence upon the writings of Lehi's two literary songs, Nephi and Jacob." He also finds that a "surprising amount of information exists which allows us to determine substantially the content and compass of Lehi's record." Off the record, Professor Brown has remarked: "This may be one of the best pieces I have ever written." Anyone interested in the composition of the Book of Mormon will find this study very worthwhile.
What should we make of the fact that Egyptian funerary literature talks about "trees" and "waters," not unlike Lehi's vision described in 1 Nephi 8? Or of the fact that ancient Greeks inscribed gold plates with similar images and ritual texts relating to the fate of the soul following death? Wilfred Griggs' paper, The Book of Mormon as an Ancient Book (BYU Studies and Book of Mormon Authorship), asserts that these items unquestionably show that "the Book of Mormon has a demonstrable compatibility with the ancient Near Eastern origin which it claims." Dr. Griggs thus challenges simple-minded explanations of the Book of Mormon as a mere product of Joseph Smith and 19th Century New England.
Between 1972 and 1984, the Ensign printed 17 short features under the heading "I Have a Question" dealing with the Book of Mormon. For your convenience, these are all collected into a single reprint. Here you will find answers by LDS scholars to questions such as: Does the Book of Mormon bear any relationship to the Solomon Spaulding manuscript? Why is so much of the Book of Mormon given over to military accounts? What does the word Lamanite mean? In what way is the Book of Mormon the "most correct book"?
David A. Palmer's paper on Warfare in Nephite America documents three main causes of war in the Book of Mormon: economic advantage, political power struggles, and religious antipathy. He also discusses the role of war captains, seiges, battles by appointment, militias, and fortifications, with respect to both the scriptures and Mesoamerican archaeology. This is an important look at one of the major aspects of the Book of Mormon - one that heretofore has received little scholarly attention.
This technical report is a valuable but highly detailed reference tool. Robert F. Smith gives brief descriptions, with source references, on all the Kings of Israel of Judah, from 793 B.C. to 445 B.C., prominent figures contemporary with them, the prophets of Israel for the same period, and a wealth of raw data in the form of facts and figures. In John Sorenson's estimation, this "gives us a thoroughly up-to-date structure of the historical framework to set the stage for the beginning of the Book of Mormon." The report also includes an appendix giving the latest information about what was going on in Arabia at the time Lehi travelled there.
The authors of the last couple of books on the Small Plates of Nephi are often passed over: Jarom, Omni, Amaron, Abinadom, Amaleki. At first glance, it seems that these writers were delinquent in their record keeping duty. But on close inspection, John Welch's report analyzing "The Father's Command to Keep Records in the Small Plates of Nephi" shows that these writers were all precise and careful about one thing: they all dutifully discharged the specific obligations given by Nephi's command as recorded in Jacob 1:1-4. "Modern readers should not underrate these little books," is one conclusion of this study.