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Dictionary of Proper Names and Foreign Words
in the Book of Mormon

By Stephen D. Ricks, Paul Y. Hoskisson, Robert F. Smith and John Gee

Published by The Interpreter Foundation
in cooperation with Eborn Books


This book is the first ever comprehensive study of the nearly 400 proper names and foreign words in the Book of Mormon, the results of more than ten years of cooperative investigation by individuals with expertise in the languages of the ancient world. This dictionary contains an extensive examination of the etymologies of each of the names and foreign terms in the Book of Mormon.

Eborn Books



“From Abinadi to Zoram, this significant volume examines more than 350 proper names and foreign words in the Book of Mormon. Authored by four accomplished scholars—Stephen D. Ricks, Paul Y. Hoskisson, Robert F. Smith, and John Gee—this work elevates Book of Mormon scholarship to a new level.

— Donald W. Parry, professor of the Hebrew Bible, Brigham Young University

Your Dictionary of Proper Names and Foreign Words in the Book of Mormon is scholarly, insightful, and has given me much to reflect on. This is an amazing contribution to Book of Mormon scholarship.

— Susan Easton Black, Professor emeritus of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University

About the Authors

Stephen D. Ricks

Stephen D. Ricks, a native of Berkeley, California, received his bachelor’s degree in ancient Greek and his master’s degree in Classics from Brigham Young University, and his PhD in ancient Near Eastern religions from the University of California, Berkeley, and Graduate Theological Union. He is currently Professor of Hebrew and Cognate Learning at Brigham Young University, where he has been teaching for nearly forty years.



Paul Y. Hoskisson

Paul Y. Hoskisson, retired professor of Religious Education at BYU, received his PhD from Brandeis University in ancient Near East languages and history. In addition to teaching in Religious Education at Brigham Young University beginning in 1981, he served as institutional representative on the Corporation Trustee board of American Schools of Oriental Research, Director of the Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies, Richard L. Evans Professor of Religious Understanding, Associate Dean of Religious Education at BYU, Coordinator of Near Eastern Studies at BYU, and epigrapher for the 1983 ASOR excavation at Qarqur, Syria. Prior to coming to BYU, he taught ancient Near East languages at the Universität Zürich.



Robert F. Smith

Robert F. Smith is an alumnus of BYU and has had advanced training in archeology and Near Eastern languages at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, UCLA, and CalState University, Long Beach. He was the first editor of the FARMS Book of Mormon Critical Text Project (1979–1987), and most recently presented a paper on ”Book of Mormon Theologies: A Thumbnail Sketch” at the 2012 annual meeting of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology (SMPT). He is currently a member of Grandview Stake and a veil worker at the Provo Temple.



John Gee

John Gee is the William (Bill) Gay Research Professor in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young University. He has authored more than one-hundred fifty publications on topics such as ancient scripture, Aramaic, archaeology, Coptic, Egyptian, history, linguistics, Luwian, rhetoric, Sumerian, textual criticism, and published in journals such as British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan, Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar, Enchoria, Ensign, FARMS Review, Göttinger Miszellen, Issues in Religion and Psychotherapy, Journal of Academic Perspecitves, Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Journal of Egyptian History, Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, Lingua Aegyptia, Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Studien zur altägyptischen Kultur, and Interpreter, and by such presses as American University of Cairo Press, Archaeopress, Association Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth, E. J. Brill, Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, Czech Institute of Egyptology, Deseret Book, de Gruyter, Harrassowitz, Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, Macmillan, Oxford University Press, Peeters, Praeger, Religious Studies Center, Society of Biblical Literature. He has published three books and has edited eight books and an international multilingual peer-reviewed professional journal. He served twice as a section chair for the Society of Biblical Literature.

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