There are 6 thoughts on “Verbal Punctuation in the Book of Mormon I: (And) Now”.

  1. Thanks for your careful analysis. In a paper entitled “That Which You Translated, Which You Have Retained,” published in Interpreter on February 26, 2021, I proposed that our current Words of Mormon in the Book of Mormon is the entire original second chapter of the book of Mosiah following a first chapter that was lost in its entirety as part of the missing 116 pages. I also proposed that the original third chapter of the book of Mosiah begins with the first words of our current Mosiah 1.

    I was pleased to see that your analysis lends some modest support to my findings. Both Words of Mormon and the subsequent chapter (Mosiah 1) begin with the term “And now.” I realize that this phrase is used not only to mark chapter breaks, but also to mark other major breaks in text, so the presence of this phrase at these points doesn’t require chapter breaks. I also realize that chapter breaks would be present at these two points under some other views as well. Just the same, I’m encouraged to see that your important research describes verbal punctuation that fits well with my proposal.

    Separately, I noticed that there are 650 instances of the phrase “and now” in the Book of Mormon but only 84 instances in the entire Old Testament. This notable difference in frequency also appears to be consistent with your thesis that Classical Biblical Hebrew usage of this term continued among Book of Mormon writers while it was discontinued in the Old World after the Babylonian exile.

  2. Pingback: Verbal Punctuation in the Book of Mormon II — Nevertheless | The Interpreter Foundation

  3. In his typical pedagogical style, John Gee once again demonstrates the acuity with which he perceives the Book of Mormon as an ancient text of mostly Hebraic origins. In an article which introduces the verbal punctuation of key phrases beyond the over-exemplified “…and it came to pass,” Gee shows that these other phrases are much more prominent and just as easy to show the manner in which they function as punctuation markers just as is found in pre-exilic Hebrew.

    This article is certainly an eye-opener for me regarding the extant of verbal punctuation usage in the Book of Mormon. My reading in Skousen’s Critical Text along with the standard Book of Mormon will forever be altered after reading this article.

  4. Very enlightening! Quick question: It seems to me that “and now” is used twice by Joseph in his letter to Oliver Cowdery dated 22 October 1829 (in the same paragraph quoted in the article). Is there a reason the other instance of “and now” is an incorrect usage, or another reason it wasn’t counted towards the total?

  5. Sorry to spam your document. I could not resist comparing the Genesis account with the Moses account in the Paearl of Great Price. The Genesis account has almost all of the subtilty removed from the verbal punctuation, simply beginning with “And” signifying every new paragraph. The Moses account is varied in its verbal punctuation showing more sophisticated punctuation.

    Then comparing the Moses account to Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price we see a very different author, writing a much more personal document, with a less rigid, formal writing style when compared to Moses. Yet, both documents contain verbal punctuation. Fascinating! Thanks for the great article. It’s unlocked a textual feature I can’t wait to pay attention to in my studies.

  6. Thank you, Dr Gee. The evidence also suggests something about the translation process versus receiving revelation as a prophet. I have read some scholars explaining that Joseph Smith was given ideas through revelation (such as in the Doctrine and Covenants). The suggestion is he then used his own language to explain the idea he received or the vision he had. The implication is something the Prophet was given specific words to read and sometimes he was given ideas to convey, using his own language.

    If this method of revelation were employed in the Book of Mormon translation, such revelatory experiences would not include Hebrew elements. Yet, the Book of Mormon does include Hebrew elements, therefore it is not likely to be Joseph Smith’s words describing images he saw or ideas implanted in his mind. This nuance supports the idea that a text is involved rather than Joseph acting as prophet receiving new revelation. That we can see these differences is consistent with Joseph Smith acting as prophet versus acting as translator. It further supports his claims and other contemporary’s descriptions of Joseph Smith “as revelator” versus “as translator.”

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