Hebrew names in the BoM


thekabalist

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We have to be aware that Gadianton is probably a Jaredite name (and therefore, may not be Hebrew).

Could be. The BoM translates it Gadianton in both eras, of the Jaredites as well as Nephites and Lamanites, so it could be that JS chose to put it into English as Gadianton, when in reality it was somehow "people of the goat" in each language.

Anyway, any thoughts Kabbalist about the similarities in Gadianton names?

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I thought the LDS Egyptologist John Gee had some interesting notes on the name Nephi as well.

A Note on the Name Nephi1

John Gee

Over forty years ago, Hugh Nibley raised the issue of Book of Mormon onomastica: Are the "personal names contained in the story . . . satisfactory for that period and region"?2 While an answer to the larger issue of all the names in the Book of Mormon still awaits investigation,3 we seem to be in a position to comment on the authenticity of the name Nephi, the first name to occur in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 1:1).

A Phoenician inscription discovered at Elephantine contains the name of a certain KNPY.4 This, by itself, is mere trivia, but the scholarly discussion of the name is of interest in connection with the Book of Mormon. F. L. Benz has compiled a list of the personal names in Phoenician inscriptions and their derivations. He sees the name KNPY as the Phoenician form of K3-nfr.w, an attested Egyptian name.5 This equation was later confirmed by G. Vittmann, who added that the Aramaic spellings KNWP and QNPY were also attested.6 Further, the Aramaic KNWPY is attested in the Elephantine inscriptions.7 Vittmann also noted that the name HRNPY, attested in Aramaic inscriptions, was probably Egyptian nh-hr-nfr.8 The name element NPY seems to be the Semitic (i.e., Aramaic, Phoenician) transcription of the Egyptian nfr, a common element of Egyptian personal names.9 The medial p in the Semitic form would have been taken as a /f/, so the vocalization of NPY as Nephi poses no problem.10

While both K3-nfr.w and nh-hr-nfr are attested Egyptian names containing the element nfr, Nfr itself is an attested Egyptian name.11 At this time (fifth century B.C.) in Egypt, the final r had fallen out of the pronunciation of nfr,12 and this remained the case in Coptic, where the form was noufi.13 Though the name K3-nfr.w has an /u/ vowel following the n, the verbal form of nfr.w is a stative (also known as a qualitative or old perfective), whereas Nfr is probably a participle; thus, the vowel was likely not the same. Demoticists indicate that the vowel following the n in the participial form of nfr as well as in the verbal form transcribed as n3-nfr is an /e/ (Coptic/Greek epsilon).14

With this we can make a guess at the pronunciation of the name Nephi. Most European and Latin American Latter-day Saints are already pronouncing the name more or less correctly as /nefi/ or /nefi/, since originally it was most likely pronounced "nefe" or "nafe (rhyming with "heh fee/hay fee") rather than the current "nefi." Nevertheless, the standard English pronunciation has a venerable history,15 and even this writer will probably continue to use it.

To sum up, Nephi is an attested Syro-Palestinian Semitic form of an attested Egyptian man's name dating from the Late Period in Egypt. It is appropriate that Nephi notes early the connections between Egypt and Israel at his time (1 Nephi 1:3), for his own name is Egyptian. It is the proper form of a proper name of the proper gender from the proper place and proper time.

Notes

1. I would like to thank Theron Stanford for assisting me in obtaining a key source on short notice, and Matt Roper for his insistent prodding.

2. Hugh W. Nibley, Lehi in the Desert/The World of the Jaredites/There Were Jaredites, vol. 5 in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 1, citing W. F. Albright.

3. On the methodology of this subject, see Paul Y. Hoskisson, "An Introduction to the Relevance of and a Methodology for a Study of the Proper Names of the Book of Mormon," in John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., By Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990), 2:126—35.

4. Mark Lidzbarski, Phönizische und aramäische Krugaufschriften aus Elephantine (Berlin: Reimer, 1912), 24.

5. Frank L. Benz, Personal Names in the Phoenician and Punic Inscriptions: A Catalog, Grammatical Study and Glossary of Elements (Rome: Biblical Institute, 1972), 192. Hermann Ranke, Die ägyptische Personennamen, 3 vols. (Glückstadt: Augustin, 1935—77), 1:390. For an early Demotic attestation dating from the reign of Amasis, see Wolja Erichsen, Auswahl frühdemotischer Texte, 3 vols. (Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1950), 1:21, line 11.

6. G. Vittmann, "Zu den in den phönikischen Inschriften enthaltenen ägyptischen Personennamen," Göttinger Miszellen 113 (1989): 95.

7. See A. E. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1923), inscriptions 26:9, 21; and 50:7, pp. 89—90, 155.

8. Vittmann, "Zu den in den phönikischen Inschriften enthaltenen ägyptischen Personennamen," 94. The name is found in Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C., inscription 72:23, p. 183.

9. There are three-hundred ninety listed in Ranke, Die ägyptische Personennamen, 3:73—76.

10. E. Kautzsch and A. E. Cowley, Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, 2d ed. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1910), §§6n, 13b, 21, pp. 33—34, 56, 75—76.

11. It is attested as a man's name from Dynasty 1 through the late period (which Ranke takes as ending at the Alexandrian conquest of Egypt), and as a woman's name in the Old Kingdom through the New Kingdom, and the Greek period; Ranke, Ägyptische Personennamen, 1:194.

12. Vittmann, "Zu den in den phönikischen Inschriften enthaltenen ägyptischen Personennamen," 93. The Egyptian -r was weak from the beginning; see Elmar Edel, Altägyptische Grammatik, 2 vols., vols. 34/39 of Analecta Orientalia (Rome: Pontificum Institutum Biblicum, 1955), §§127—28, 1:56; Walter Till, Koptische Grammatik (Leipzig: VEB, 1970) §39, p. 48.

13. The southern dialects have noufe, the northern noufi; Jaroslav Cerny, Coptic Etymological Dictionary (Cambridge University Press, 1976), 116; Walter E. Crum, A Coptic Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon, 1939), 240; Wolfhart Westendorf, Koptisches Handwörterbuch (Heidelberg: Winter, 1977), 133.

14. See Erichsen, Auswahl frühdemotisher Texte, 2:71. For examples of late period names with n3-nfr see Ranke, Ägyptische Personennamen, 1:169; and Miriam Lichtheim, Demotic Ostraca from Medinet Habu (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), plate 28, text 144, line 2; for the Greek transcription of the Egyptian name Nfr-htp as Nephotes, see Heinz J. Thissen, "Ägyptologische Beiträge zu den griechischen magischen Papyri," in Ursula Verhoeven and Erhart Graefe, eds., Religion und Philosophie im alten Ägypten (Leuven: Peeters, 1991), 295.

15. Note the spelling of "Lehi" as "Lehigh" in M. J. Hubble's interview of David Whitmer, 13 November 1886, in Lyndon W. Cook, ed., David Whitmer Interviews: A Restoration Witness (Provo, UT: Grandin, 1992), 210. Hubble was a non-Mormon and apparently had never seen the name spelled and thus spelled what he heard. As David Whitmer had "cut loose from [Joseph Smith and the Church] in 1837" (Cook, David Whitmer Interviews, 6) likely his pronunciation of the names had not altered from the initial period and thus the present American pronunciations of the names Nephi and Lehi were set within the first decade of the Church.

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tHEkABALIST NOTED:

Metatron is not a Greek name. This is an incorrect assumption made by outsiders. Metatron comes from מטרה (matarah) which means guide hence the angel of presence that guides to G-d.

Kerry says:

Interesting! Andrei Orlov also has some very interesting etymological analysis of Metatron that I shall share as I can.

Incidentally, the Hebraic aspects of the BofM names you present are very interesting. I am just now this year reading the entire Old Testament in Hebrew so I look very, VERY forward to discussing things with you. I began my reading the day after Christmas and just arrived at Deuteronomy...... I agree with all of you, my Jewish brothers and sisters and friends, the Torah ROCKS! (Sorry for the silly Americanism, but it is the best way to say sensational)

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Kabalist said:

Mormon - מרמן or מורמן – literally "from/of the master" (from - man // master - mar/mor)"

Kerry asks:

I understand the מן element meaning "from" or "of" but I don't see how you are arriving at mar/mor for "master." The classic Hebrew word for "master" is בעל (ba'al). I can also find אמן ('amun) meaning "to be firm, trustworthy, safe" I am but a beginner at Hebrew, but I don't find your proposed "mar/mor" in Hebrew meaning "master." The root אדן ('adn) of course means "master," as well as "Eden" while The Ugaritic ˒adn means “lord” or “father” and the Akkadian adannu carries a similar meaning, “mighty.” (Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). "Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament" (electronic ed.) (012). Chicago: Moody Press). Hebrew שַׂר (sar) means "official," "chiefton," "captain," etc. Do you have some sources that show this which I am unfamiliar with? If these many Hebrew names pan out, this is seriously exciting. Onomostica is one of my absolute FAVORITE subjects with the scriptures, and much work has been done on it, so this is interesting to me. Thanks man!

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Aha........ yeah mixing Hebrew with Aramaic is not a good methodology. Dang it too. It takes away from Mormon. Aramaic and Hebrew simply can't get mixed like that can it? And......yes, I do believe the Aramaic is later. Gesenius in his "Grammar" noted:

The earliest non-Jewish Aramaic inscriptions known to us are that of זכר king of Hamath (early eighth cent. b.c.), on which see Nöldeke, ZA. 1908, p. 376, and that found at Teima, in N. Arabia, in 1880, probably of the fifth cent. b.c., cf. E. Littmann in the Monist, xiv. 4 [and Cooke, op. cit., p. 195]. The monuments of Kalammus of Sam’al, in the reign of Shalmanezer II, 859–829 b.c. (cf. A. Šanda, Die Aramäer, Lpz. 1902, p. 26), and those found in 1888–1891 at Zenjîrlî in N. Syria, including the Hadad inscription of thirty-four lines (early eighth cent. b.c.) and the Panammu inscription (740 b.c.), are not in pure Aramaic. The Jewish-Aramaic writings begin about the time of Cyrus (cf. Ezr 6:3 ff.), specially important being the papyri from Assuan ed. by Sayce and Cowley, London, 1906 (and in a cheaper form by Staerk, Bonn, 1907), which are precisely dated from 471 to 411 b.c., and three others of 407 b.c. ed. by Sachau, Berlin, 1907.

Gesenius, F. W. (2003). Gesenius' Hebrew grammar (E. Kautzsch & S. A. E. Cowley, Ed.) (2d English ed.) (6). Bellingham, WA:

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Kabalist said:

Mormon - מרמן or מורמן – literally "from/of the master" (from - man // master - mar/mor)"

Kerry asks:

I understand the מן element meaning "from" or "of" but I don't see how you are arriving at mar/mor for "master." The classic Hebrew word for "master" is בעל (ba'al). I can also find אמן ('amun) meaning "to be firm, trustworthy, safe" I am but a beginner at Hebrew, but I don't find your proposed "mar/mor" in Hebrew meaning "master." The root אדן ('adn) of course means "master," as well as "Eden" while The Ugaritic ˒adn means “lord” or “father” and the Akkadian adannu carries a similar meaning, “mighty.” (Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). "Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament" (electronic ed.) (012). Chicago: Moody Press). Hebrew שַׂר (sar) means "official," "chiefton," "captain," etc. Do you have some sources that show this which I am unfamiliar with? If these many Hebrew names pan out, this is seriously exciting. Onomostica is one of my absolute FAVORITE subjects with the scriptures, and much work has been done on it, so this is interesting to me. Thanks man!

I'm certainly no expert, but go to the following site and choose Hebrew->English and type in "מור" and translate. Comes back "nm. teacher, instructor, schoolteacher, master, schoolmaster, professor, preceptor; guide", and the pronunciation help is showing "moore".

Free Online Hebrew Dictionary. Type in Hebrew/English. Translate Hebrew or Phonetic Hebrew.

I like it because it has the phonetic Hebrew too too.

Reagrds,

Vanhin

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I'm certainly no expert, but go to the following site and choose Hebrew->English and type in "מור" and translate. Comes back "nm. teacher, instructor, schoolteacher, master, schoolmaster, professor, preceptor; guide", and the pronunciation help is showing "moore".

Free Online Hebrew Dictionary. Type in Hebrew/English. Translate Hebrew or Phonetic Hebrew.

I like it because it has the phonetic Hebrew too too.

Reagrds,

Vanhin

Yes, but is it Biblical Hebrew? Modern Hebrew is not the same. The great Hebraic LDS scholar John Tvedtnmes told me when I said I was getting ready to study Hebrew to pick one or the other. So I went with the Biblical Hebrew. And since the BofM dates from ancient Biblical times, that is why I am going with Biblical Hebrew first. Don't get me wrong, I am not arguing or trying to be cantankerous whatsoever. I think the study of Hebraisms (John actually has a 100 pager on these!!!) in the BofgM is utterly intriguing and very exciting. I just wanna make sure things match so when I use them they are truly valid, no offense at all meant to kabalist. I am seriously enjoying reading his "Jewish" themes in the BofM and sharing his comments on it from his unique perspective.

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Yes, but is it Biblical Hebrew? Modern Hebrew is not the same. The great Hebraic LDS scholar John Tvedtnmes told me when I said I was getting ready to study Hebrew to pick one or the other. So I went with the Biblical Hebrew. And since the BofM dates from ancient Biblical times, that is why I am going with Biblical Hebrew first. Don't get me wrong, I am not arguing or trying to be cantankerous whatsoever. I think the study of Hebraisms (John actually has a 100 pager on these!!!) in the BofgM is utterly intriguing and very exciting. I just wanna make sure things match so when I use them they are truly valid, no offense at all meant to kabalist. I am seriously enjoying reading his "Jewish" themes in the BofM and sharing his comments on it from his unique perspective.

Well, that's what I found when I looked up the characters he was using. Just trying to help you out since you didn't see how he was getting it. :)

Regards,

Vanhin

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It is not even modern Hebrew! A teacher in modern Hebrew is moreh for a male, morah for a female, with the accent of both on the last syllable.

Even Yemenite Aramaic is mori (because of the dagesh) not mor.

And that is what I was afraid of when I saw it being electronically used like that. We gotta stick with the good stuff eithout resorting to questionable research. Believe me, there is PLENTY of FABULOUS stuff in the BofM without resorting to dubious items......sincerely, I am not trying to offend anyone in saying this.

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Aha........ yeah mixing Hebrew with Aramaic is not a good methodology. Dang it too. It takes away from Mormon. Aramaic and Hebrew simply can't get mixed like that can it? And......yes, I do believe the Aramaic is later.

Certainly not at this early a time they shouldn't be mixing. Not without a good reason at any rate.

I agree with you.

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BTW, Kerry, nice to have you joining the discussion here.

For those who do not know you, Kerry was a major cause of me having a major aneurysm in 2004, when he forced me at the FAIR conference to buy and read Blake Ostler's first volume on LDS philosophy on God.

If you haven't read his Backyard Professor blog/website, you are missing some very great stuff.

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Frankly, as someone raised in an almost entirely Jewish environment, I'm baffled by #5.

That's okay, the same is true about non-members raised almost entirely in Utah. They are surprisingly baffled at things they don't understand about Mormons. For example, people familiar with our faith and people, are often surprised to find out that not all American Mormons are Republicans - we actually have some who are Democrats and members of other political parties. I guess proximity alone does not make one an expert. So, don't feel bad.

Regards,

Vanhin

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Thanks for consoling me about not being an expert, about being ignorant as a non-LDS from Utah, proximity and all that, but you just happen to be utterly wrong. My turn to console you.

It isn't Judaism that baffles me. What baffles me is finding a statement like Maya's 5th, on a Jewish perspectives board, a concept rather alien to Judaism and Jewish culture.

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You could ask him what a machaloket leshem shamayim is.

Don't you mean a machloket leshem shamayim? And thekabalist is not arguing for the purpose of bringing truth. I think there is a way of bringing all perspectives here...but so far I haven't seen it as being very respectful. Thekabalist has stated from the beginning that it is his perspective and his understanding of his research. Not that is absolute truth. I've seen nothing but some being extremely critical of his perspectives and that's just not cool. Sorry..just the way I see it.

Edited by pam
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Thanks for consoling me about not being an expert, about being ignorant as a non-LDS from Utah, proximity and all that, but you just happen to be utterly wrong. My turn to console you.

It isn't Judaism that baffles me. What baffles me is finding a statement like Maya's 5th, on a Jewish perspectives board, a concept rather alien to Judaism and Jewish culture.

What do you mean? You think that all Jews like to argue and debate; that there are no "sensitive" Jews - no individuals that differ from the stereotypes? I wonder if you think all Jews are "scheming merchants" and must have large hook-noses too.

Besides, Maya is not a Jew, so you are baffled at a statement made by a Finnish/Norwegian Mormon about a person that she is friends with. He is tired of the arguing since he became involved with the troublesome Mormons. First with the anti-Mormons at Christianforums.com who immediately sprang into action when he started "validating" the Book of Mormon as an ancient Hebrew record, and then with skeptical members here who think he is trying to deceive them. Just give the guy a break, or you won't be posting here much longer.

Regards,

Vanhin

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