FORMS OF NEPHITE LAWS CONSIDERED
Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical laws were written according to certain stylistic conventions. Two such formal aspects of ancient law have recently been used to sharpen our understanding of Nephite law as well. In "Series of Laws in the Book of Mormon," John W. Welch examines ten significantly consistent law lists from which one can reconstruct a fairly clear picture of the underlying Nephite law code and its relationship to the Code of the Covenant in Exodus 20-23.
In addition, most ancient laws were written in the form, "If a man. . . ." In his discussion of this "casuistic" law form in the Book of Mormon, Welch shows that Nephite law knew and used the casuistic mode, and that it was primarily used in legal discourse, especially as one might expect in the writings of the Chief Judge Alma.