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Seek Ye Words of Wisdom

Seek Ye Words of Wisdom

Studies of the Book of Mormon, Bible, and Temple in Honor of Stephen D. Ricks

Edited by Donald W. Parry, Gaye Strathearn, and Shon D. Hopkin

Jointly published by The Interpreter Foundation and BYU Religious Education


This volume of scholarly essays—published as a Festschrift tribute to Stephen D. Ricks, Professor of Hebrew and Cognate Learning in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young University—was edited by three of his former students who are now all on the faculty at BYU. The essays were contributed by former students, colleagues, and friends in appreciation of Professor Ricks and his influence on their lives. The contents listed here represent areas of academic and personal interest to him.



Stephen D. Ricks is a professor of Hebrew and Cognate Learning at Brigham Young University and an author and coauthor of numerous books and articles defending The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its teachings. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley and Graduate Theological Union. From 1988 to 1991 Ricks was the president of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, and from 1991 to 1997 he served as the chairman of the FARMS board of directors. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. From 1992 to 1996, Dr. Ricks was the associate dean of General Education and Honors at BYU. Ricks is a coauthor of the Dictionary of Proper Names and Foreign Words in the Book of Mormon. He has written several studies on the temple in the ancient world. He and his wife, Shirley Smith Ricks, have six children, twenty grandchildren, and one great-grandson.


Table of Contents

Book of Mormon Studies

  • “Wicked Traditions” and “Cunning Arts”: Wise Men, Sorcery, and Metalwork in Nephite Society — Dan Belnap
  • “A Still Small Voice”: Three Permutations of Qôl Dĕmāmâ Daqqâ in the Book of Mormon — Matthew L. Bowen
  • Columbus among the Lamanites — Andrew H. Hedges
  • Manipulating Text to Reinforce the Message: Content Informs Form in the Bible and Book of Mormon — Paul Y. Hoskisson
  • The Lord Works from the Inside Out: “Cleanse the Inner Vessel” — Camille Fronk Olson
  • A Great Leap Backward: Where Matters Stand Now regarding the Book of Mormon’s “Secret Combinations” — Daniel C. Peterson
  • All Kindreds Shall be Blessed: Nephite, Jewish, and Christian Interpretations of the Abrahamic Covenant — Noel B. Reynolds
  • Hebrew Words Reflected in the Book of Mormon — John A. Tvedtnes

Biblical Studies

  • Paragraphs and Verses in the Scriptures — Kent P. Jackson
  • Women, Eve, and the Mosaic Covenant: A Latter-day Saint Theological Reading — Shon D. Hopkin
  • Eve’s Role as a “Help” (‘Ezer) Revisited — Donald W. Parry
  • Restoration Insights into Barrenness and Divine Intervention — Shirley Smith Ricks
  • Remembering and Keeping the Sabbath Day in the Late Second Temple Period: What Modern Latter-day Saints Might Learn about Sabbath Worship — Gaye Strathearn
  • The Symbolism of Two Sons in the Parable of the Prodigal Son — John W. Welch

Temple and Ritual Studies

  • The Reach, the Handclasp, and the Embrace: Gestures of the Gods in the Ancient Egyptian Abydos Formula — David Calabro
  • From the Egyptian Temple through the Hebrew Bible to the Book of Mormon — John Gee
  • Seeking the Sacred: Replicating the Holy Sepulchre and Jerusalem Pilgrimage — Jennifer C. Lane
  • Rituals, Magic, and Outsiders in Tannaitic Judaism: The Case of the Customs of the Amorites — Avram R. Shannon

Donald W. Parry PhD, professor of the Hebrew Bible, Abraham O. Smoot Professorship, is a member of the International Team of Translators of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He has authored or edited forty books, ten of which pertain to the scrolls and six of which deal with the writings of Isaiah. Parry has also published articles in journals, festschrifts, conference proceedings, and encyclopedias. Parry is a member of several other professional organizations, including the International Organization of Qumran Studies, Groningen, The Netherlands; The International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament, Groningen, The Netherlands; Society for Biblical Literature, Atlanta, Georgia; and the National Association of Professors of Hebrew, Madison, Wisconsin. He is married to Camille Mills, and they are the parents of six children.
Gaye Strathearn is a professor in the department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University and currently serves as one of the associate deans in Religious Education. She was born and raised in Redcliffe, Australia, and worked as a physical therapist in Australia over a period of ten years. After a life-changing experience as a student at the BYU Jerusalem Center, she came to Brigham Young University, where she earned a BA and MA in Near Eastern Studies. She later received a PhD in Religion (New Testament) from the Claremont Graduate University. She has been teaching full time at BYU since 1995, including a year at BYU’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. Her research centers primarily on New Testament topics, especially those of interest to Latter-day Saints.
Shon Hopkin received a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in Hebrew studies with a focus on medieval Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish literature. Before coming to Brigham Young University in 2011, he taught in Seminaries and Institutes. He has served at BYU as chair of the Book of Mormon Academy and chair of the BYU Religious Outreach Council. Dr. Hopkin currently chairs the Department of Ancient Scripture. He is one of the principal organizers of the ongoing Jewish and Latter-day Saint Academic Interfaith Dialogue project. He has authored, coauthored, and edited numerous books and articles on Isaiah, the Hebrew Bible, Latter-day Saint beliefs, and medieval literature, including Opening Isaiah: A Harmony (with Ann Madsen); Abinadi: He Came among Them in Disguise (edited); and Mormonism: A Guide for the Perplexed (with Robert Millet). He and his wife have four children and two grandchildren.

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