One Point for the Apologists!

[disclaimer: I haven’t researched for myself the veracity of the following claim, although at first sight it does seem compelling]

According to this source:

The Book of Mormon “contains 337 proper names and 21 gentilics (or analogous forms) based on proper names.”[5] Of the 337 proper names, “188 are unique to the Book of Mormon”: for example, Abinadi, Amalickiah, Amulek, Morianton, Mormon, Moronihah, Kishkumen, Helaman, Hagoth, Gadianton, Omni, and Riplakish; 149 of the 337 proper names are common to both the Bible and the Book of Mormon: for example, Samuel, Isaiah, Gideon, Benjamin, Aaron, Noah, Shem, Timothy, and Jacob. Typical of the ancient Semitic languages from which the Nephite record is derived, the Book of Mormon does not use surnames[6] or attach modern titles to its names, such as Mr., Mrs., Dr., Professor, Reverend, Count, or Earl.[7] The names, as transcribed into the English language, do not use the letters q, x, or w,[8] nor do the names begin with either the characters W or F,[9] a fact shared with the names of the Old Testament.



~ by bonoboi on November 18, 2006.

5 Responses to “One Point for the Apologists!”

  1. Do you know if the study includes names from the Apocrypha (which would have been in many family bibles of the time; The Book of Judith has Nephi and Laban)? Also, many of the names could be derivative of Biblical ones: for example, Abinadi may have been inspired by Abinadab, and Helaman by Helam. I think that there would still be an impressive number after these were culled, but a respectable study would have to address at least these two issues, and then touch on possible contemporary sources for the remaining names.

  2. Great points (about the names in the BOM), John. What do you think about the part in bold- about the BOM names not starting with the characters W or F (“a fact shared with names of the Old Testament”).

    I guess this may not seem too amazing, seeing as many (149) of the names already come from the Bible in their exact form. It would be interesting to see a well done study on where the rest of the names may have come from (such as the apocrypha). I remember John Dehlin had a post on MS showing a map that may have served as a source for many more BOM names as well but it seems we decided that map may not be credible.

    Thanks again for the comment, John- when are you unveiling the new book of the month?

  3. I lurk often here, but need to emerge more. I love your posts and the encouragement you provide and the discussions you provoke throughout the Mormon blogosphere.

    I read a lot of speculative fiction, and authors seem to be able to come up with a lot of creative naming schemes (think Tolkien). I’d be curious to see a similar study applied to them–maybe as a control source, if they’re trying to prove divinity. It’s probably moot, since the purpose is probably more to reinforce the faithful than to convince the unbelieving.

    Thanks for asking about the book–voting continues through Saturday. Please cast yours! I’m sorry that I didn’t include Dawkins or Harris in this round, however. About half the group was pretty weary of the direct, sustained attack on religion by the time we got done last time.

    One more thing (this is more like an email, less like a comment!): Jana and I are going to get the podcast going again, in great part due to your encouragement. Thanks!

  4. I’ve come to the conclusion that even if there are things about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon that I can’t explain, it doesn’t mean I have to accept the whole ball o’ wax as true.

    I don;t think Joseph Smith was the prophet of God called to restore Christ’s church in this dispensation. But I don’t necessarily think he was a lying charlatan. I don’t think the Book of Mormon is an authentic record, but I am not sure how it came about.

    He was a mystic. There have been many, and I can;t explain them away any more than I can explain Joseph Smith away. I can simply file them in the “Weird Shit” folder in my head and move on.

    My point is, *I do not feel obligated* to explain Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. The burden of proof is on the Church to vindicate that it is true (and not that it is merely “not impossible,” which seems to be the best that apologetics can do), and to me, the Church has failed to meet that burden.

  5. I have heard this “how could he make up so many names” proof since I was a child many decades ago. I once sat down and started making up names out of thin air. I got to about 100 in half an hour. When you also count that adding “hah” to the end of a name counts as a new name this “how could he make up so many names” question becomes downright silly.
    The fact that many of the names start with letters similar to Old Testament names (actually many of them are one phoneme away from Old Testament names) might be impressive if we knew Joseph Smith didn’t have access to the Old Testament. However we know that the Bible is the one book he put his nose into quite a lot.

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