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Why Were The Brass Plates In Egyptian?


Joseph Antley

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The brass plates were, apparently, the personal records of of Lehi's family (it includes Lehi's genealogy, and was in the possession of his presumed relative, Laban).

Mosiah 1:4 mentions that the brass plates were engraved in the "language of the egyptians". How did the record of this prestigious Israelite family end up being written in Egyptian? Isn't this strange?

And here's a few side questions that I've been pondering--

Where was Lehi's "land of inheritance" that his sons had to travel to to gather their wealth to present to Laban? And how did Lehi, and Laban for that matter, become so prestigious in Judah if they were Manassites?

And how was it that Lehi did not know what tribe he was from? Lehi was extremely wealth, well-learned in the torah and prophets, and had a sizable "land of inheritance". It was never important for him to find out what tribe he was from? Somehow I always pictured tribal descent as extremely important in Israelite culture.

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The brass plates were, apparently, the personal records of of Lehi's family (it includes Lehi's genealogy, and was in the possession of his presumed relative, Laban).

Mosiah 1:4 mentions that the brass plates were engraved in the "language of the egyptians". How did the record of this prestigious Israelite family end up being written in Egyptian? Isn't this strange?

As for the first Q about Egyptian; Lehi was a descendant of Joseph, who, as we read in ta biblia, was sold into Egypt. That provides a nice link. The northern tribes from which Lehi looks to have been associated with, had ties with Egypt, as well. Sorenson and Gardner, and others, have discussed the connection, including the mixture of Semetic and Egyptian in writing (see Hamblin on reformed Egyptian).

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The brass plates were, apparently, the personal records of of Lehi's family (it includes Lehi's genealogy, and was in the possession of his presumed relative, Laban).

Yes, pretty much, according to our beliefs.

Mosiah 1:4 mentions that the brass plates were engraved in the "language of the egyptians". How did the record of this prestigious Israelite family end up being written in Egyptian? Isn't this strange?

Yes, and no it isn't strange considering the fact that his family had spent so much time in Egypt.

And here's a few side questions that I've been pondering--

Where was Lehi's "land of inheritance" that his sons had to travel to to gather their wealth to present to Laban?

They traveled back to their house where they had been living before they left Jerusalem. It was somewhere within the land that was designated for the tribe (or family) of Joseph, among all of the land of Israel.

And how did Lehi, and Laban for that matter, become so prestigious in Judah if they were Manassites?

How prestigious do you think they were? I think they were probably among the most presigious people from the tribe of Manasseh to those who thought they were prestigious. I'm sure not everyone thought they were prestigious.

And how was it that Lehi did not know what tribe he was from?

Where do you get the idea he didn't know what tribe he was from? If you're referring to what he read when he read the plates, I think that's simply talking about what he read when he read the plates, not that he had no idea before he had read them.

Lehi was extremely wealth, well-learned in the torah and prophets, and had a sizable "land of inheritance".

What makes you think he was "well-learned in the torah and prophets"?

Do you think he became such before or after he had the plates?

Do you think before he had the plates he had absolutely no knowledge from them?

It was never important for him to find out what tribe he was from?

I think it was, and I think he found out before he received the plates from Laban.

Somehow I always pictured tribal descent as extremely important in Israelite culture.

Me too. :P

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Joseph writes:

The brass plates were, apparently, the personal records of of Lehi's family (it includes Lehi's genealogy, and was in the possession of his presumed relative, Laban).
I think though that this is interpretable (and is interpreted). Here for example, there is an implied assumption that Lehi's immediate genealogy is included, when in fact, it doesn't really have to be that close to Lehi. If Lehi has an oral tradition of his fathers and their fathers, then he may well discover which tribe he is from by connecting the dots. The genealogy wouldn't even need to be any different than what we have in the Old Testament for this to be the case ...
Mosiah 1:4 mentions that the brass plates were engraved in the "language of the egyptians". How did the record of this prestigious Israelite family end up being written in Egyptian? Isn't this strange?
There could be a lot of reasons. Among other things, there were many Israelites who could at least speak Egyptian at that point in time. There was a strong trade interrupted by wars between the Egyptians and the Assyrians/Babylonians at that time, and during the time of Jeremiah, the Jews were forging a new alliance with the Egyptians to throw off the Babylonian yoke (to defeat Nebuchadnezzar). Within that context we could probably come up with a number of scenarios in which these plates would be plausible.
Where was Lehi's "land of inheritance" that his sons had to travel to to gather their wealth to present to Laban? And how did Lehi, and Laban for that matter, become so prestigious in Judah if they were Manassites?
Presumably it was in Jerusalem or its immediate environs. It would have been a fairly lengthy journey back to Jerusalem from where they were (the "wilderness" in which they had traveled three days doesn't start at the boundaries of the city Jerusalem but rather at the edge of the territory which it controlled). So it could well have been a significant journey back to Jerusalem from where they were camped.
And how was it that Lehi did not know what tribe he was from? Lehi was extremely wealth, well-learned in the torah and prophets, and had a sizable "land of inheritance". It was never important for him to find out what tribe he was from? Somehow I always pictured tribal descent as extremely important in Israelite culture.
How much of this comes from a later importance placed on it? I tended to read it differently - the Lehi was not that learned in the torah or the prophets. Rather he gets that way. His is an oral tradition and not the same as what was on the Brass Plates, and he certainly seems to me to be an anti-reformist member of the Jerusalem community.
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I wonder, could several generations of Lehi's family have been egyptian Jews from Elephantine? Perhaps some egyptian ansestry in the mix? That would really throw a wrench in old theories to explain the priesthood ban.

http://www.ancientsudan.org/15_articles_je...lephantine.html

This might explain his giving one of his sons an egyptian name:

Nephi

http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbm...tb252aWV3LnBocA

writing the brass plates in egyptian and the -ihah suffix in many BoM names.

Some jews in elephanitine wrote YHWH as YHH

http://books.google.com/books?id=VgHPVgod3...UTLoI&hl=en

Bezalel Porten, â??The Religion of the Jews of Elephantine in Light of the Hermopolis Papyriâ?. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2. (Apr., 1969), pp. 116-121.

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Where was Lehi's "land of inheritance" that his sons had to travel to to gather their wealth to present to Laban?

I have argued and am preparing a paper that will shows Lehi's home was outside of Jerusalem proper. It was probably located within a few miles of Jerusalem, among the various satellite villages that popped up around Jerusalem after the destruction of the Northern Kingdom some 120 years earlier.

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The brass plates were, apparently, the personal records of of Lehi's family (it includes Lehi's genealogy, and was in the possession of his presumed relative, Laban).

Mosiah 1:4 mentions that the brass plates were engraved in the "language of the egyptians". How did the record of this prestigious Israelite family end up being written in Egyptian? Isn't this strange?

And here's a few side questions that I've been pondering--

Where was Lehi's "land of inheritance" that his sons had to travel to to gather their wealth to present to Laban? And how did Lehi, and Laban for that matter, become so prestigious in Judah if they were Manassites?

And how was it that Lehi did not know what tribe he was from? Lehi was extremely wealth, well-learned in the torah and prophets, and had a sizable "land of inheritance". It was never important for him to find out what tribe he was from? Somehow I always pictured tribal descent as extremely important in Israelite culture.

An answer can be found in the Book of Mormon itself. Egyptian is a more compact language than Hebrew. The Bible also talks about how the righteous children of Israel fled to Judah when Israel rebelled against Judah. Among them would have been many Manassehites, Ephraimites, and other tribes. Records could get lost when a group is fleeing to safety and only a few get out...

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I wonder, could several generations of Lehi's family have been egyptian Jews from Elephantine?

I was wondering something similar, but Elephantine existed until after Jerusalem's destruction, right?

The theory I always subscribed to was that Lehi was some sort of merchant who traded between Judah and Egypt, but obviously his family had had enduring ties to Egypt, or at least with Egyptian, that existed long enough for the family records.

But the brass plates couldn't have been very old -- or at least parts weren't very old. The first version of Deuteronomy and presumably Judges through 2 Kings were on them, which had been produced only a few years prior, as well as "many" of Jeremiah's prophecies, which were probably distributed around the same time. Were the brass plates all recent engravings, or was it a family record that was continually being added to?

I think that Lehi -- and assuming that the brass plates are representative of his family -- was roughly anti-Judah, and still pro-Israel. They emphasized Joseph of Egypt -- something you would expect from the records of Mannasites -- as well as Moses, which was something not usually done in Judan literature, not to mention the huge emphasis on Isaiah. I would suspect that Zenos, Zenock, Neum, and Ezias were prophets who lived in the Northern Kingdom as well, and their prophecies were lost after the Assyrian conquest. Nephi tells us that he is not teaching his children "after the manner of the Jews", and the wickedness of the Jews is emphasized by him often. They also apparently approve of their contemporary Jeremiah, another anti-Judah prophet.

As Mannasites, Lehi's family (his grandparents or great-grandparents?) would probably have been refugees from Israel after the invasion. My main question is, how did they establish themselves so quickly in the Southern Kingdom if that was the case?

And I still find it hard to believe -- in fact, I don't believe it -- that a literate, wealthy Israelite like Lehi, who was apparently enlightened enough to accept a call from God to be his prophet, was not learned in the torah and prophets.

Although another curiosity is how much of the torah did Lehi have on the brass plates? Nephi says that "five books of Moses" were contained on it, which apparently means that EJ, P, and D had been redacted by then -- a much earlier date that generally assumed by scholars (usually sometime around Ezra -- often believed that Ezra himself was the redactor).

But then again, I can't help but wondering what is literally Nephi's words and what are Joseph Smith's interpretations of his words.

And maybe my theories are completely off -- maybe Lehi's family had dwelt in Jerusalem all their days. And I apologize if this post isn't very coherant, I just starting rambling.

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In the Isaiah in the Book of Mormon volume from 1998, John Welch suggested that perhaps the Brass plates were prepared for King Josiah's coronation. My theory is that they were prepared during the reign of Jehoiakim, who was installed by the Egyptians. The Brass plates would be a translation for the Egyptian Royal Library, exactly as the Septuagint was a few hundred years later. In this case, they would contain the prophesies of Jeremiah, who started in the 13th year of Josiah's reign. And with the defeat of the Babylonians by Egypt, the undelievered diplomatic project would be wasting away in the treasury.

There is a very good FARMS paper by Eggington, the name eludes me at the moment, "Oral and Literature Cultures in the Book of Mormon," that makes some interesting observations on glyphic languages based on symbols, versus languages based on sounds. With a glyphic language, the meaning of the symbol can remain more or less intact when the spoken langue changes. Hence, it has a stability. On the other hand, it also requires more specialized training.

It's also interesting how many of the passages in the Book of Mormon where the word "language" refers not to dialect, but to information being discussed within a designated group.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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I am attempting to build a case for the notion that the Plates of Brass date originally to the time of Joseph, and were maintained from that time forward in their original Egyptian script. Furthermore, that prior to the Assyrian conquest, the plates and their current possessors were among those that fled into Egypt. There were, of course (as recorded in several places in the Old Testament) several instances of Israelites fleeing to Egypt in the years previous to the Assyrian attack. I suspect that, among those who fled to Egypt were Lehi's ancestors. If this were the case, then Lehi could have been the offspring of Israelites who had been living in Egypt for five generations or more. It would then make sense for him to characterize Egyptian as the "language of my fathers."

The Book of Mormon instructs us that it was Egyptian that Lehi wanted taught to his children -- not Hebrew. Some have argued that the Plates of Brass were written in a hybrid language: Hebrew words written in Egyptian script. I can discern no basis for this conclusion. The whole thesis seems to be based on Moroni's lament that the plates were not large enough to have written in Hebrew. To me, this one statement is not sufficient to draw the conclusion that: 1 - Hebrew (or any variant thereof) was even spoken among the Nephites; 2 - Hebrew was widely known as a written language outside exclusive circles; 3 - The Plates of Brass have any Hebrew elements whatsoever. Indeed, the words of Lehi, and later of Benjamin, seem to state unequivocally that the Plates of Brass were written in Egyptian, and that they were desired greatly "that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers."

In my opinion, there are several compelling evidences to reach this conclusion, and very little to contradict it. But, as I said, I am continuing to build my case. If there are arguments that some of you might give against the thesis I propose, I would be glad to hear them.

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I have argued and am preparing a paper that will shows Lehi's home was outside of Jerusalem proper. It was probably located within a few miles of Jerusalem, among the various satellite villages that popped up around Jerusalem after the destruction of the Northern Kingdom some 120 years earlier.

Jerusalem, proper, was given to the tribe (family) of Judah, so yes, it would make sense that Lehi, who was from the tribe of Manasseh, should be on the land outside of Jerusalem, in the land assigned to the tribe or Manasseh.

I still might learn a few things by reading your thoughts on this issue, however. :P

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An answer can be found in the Book of Mormon itself. Egyptian is a more compact language than Hebrew. The Bible also talks about how the righteous children of Israel fled to Judah when Israel rebelled against Judah. Among them would have been many Manassehites, Ephraimites, and other tribes. Records could get lost when a group is fleeing to safety and only a few get out...

Maybe Lehi and his family went to Jerusalem for a while while still maintaining their land in their own promised land in the land of Manasseh. :P

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Jerusalem, proper, was given to the tribe (family) of Judah, so yes, it would make sense that Lehi, who was from the tribe of Manasseh, should be on the land outside of Jerusalem, in the land assigned to the tribe or Manasseh.

I still might learn a few things by reading your thoughts on this issue, however. :P

If you haven't seen it yet, there's Chadwick's argument making this point here. It's been criticized by some on the board, but I don't recall who or why.

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If you haven't seen it yet, there's Chadwick's argument making this point here. It's been criticized by some on the board, but I don't recall who or why.

Thank you, I see some interesting thoughts there and will continue to peruse that article when I can spare the time.

At this point, I think there is still a lot that is only speculation on the many possible scenarios.

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The Book of Mormon instructs us that it was Egyptian that Lehi wanted taught to his children -- not Hebrew. Some have argued that the Plates of Brass were written in a hybrid language: Hebrew words written in Egyptian script. I can discern no basis for this conclusion. The whole thesis seems to be based on Moroni's lament that the plates were not large enough to have written in Hebrew. To me, this one statement is not sufficient to draw the conclusion that: 1 - Hebrew (or any variant thereof) was even spoken among the Nephites; 2 - Hebrew was widely known as a written language outside exclusive circles; 3 - The Plates of Brass have any Hebrew elements whatsoever. Indeed, the words of Lehi, and later of Benjamin, seem to state unequivocally that the Plates of Brass were written in Egyptian, and that they were desired greatly "that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers."

Are you suggesting that the Lehites and their New World descendants didn't speak, read or write Hebrew?

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Are you suggesting that the Lehites and their New World descendants didn't speak, read or write Hebrew?

He might be, but there is some scripture in the Book of Mormon that describes what they meant by "reformed Egyptian".

Want to race me to it?

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I am attempting to build a case for the notion that the Plates of Brass date originally to the time of Joseph, and were maintained from that time forward in their original Egyptian script. Furthermore, that prior to the Assyrian conquest, the plates and their current possessors were among those that fled into Egypt. There were, of course (as recorded in several places in the Old Testament) several instances of Israelites fleeing to Egypt in the years previous to the Assyrian attack. I suspect that, among those who fled to Egypt were Lehi's ancestors. If this were the case, then Lehi could have been the offspring of Israelites who had been living in Egypt for five generations or more. It would then make sense for him to characterize Egyptian as the "language of my fathers."

The Book of Mormon instructs us that it was Egyptian that Lehi wanted taught to his children -- not Hebrew. Some have argued that the Plates of Brass were written in a hybrid language: Hebrew words written in Egyptian script. I can discern no basis for this conclusion. The whole thesis seems to be based on Moroni's lament that the plates were not large enough to have written in Hebrew. To me, this one statement is not sufficient to draw the conclusion that: 1 - Hebrew (or any variant thereof) was even spoken among the Nephites; 2 - Hebrew was widely known as a written language outside exclusive circles; 3 - The Plates of Brass have any Hebrew elements whatsoever. Indeed, the words of Lehi, and later of Benjamin, seem to state unequivocally that the Plates of Brass were written in Egyptian, and that they were desired greatly "that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers."

In my opinion, there are several compelling evidences to reach this conclusion, and very little to contradict it. But, as I said, I am continuing to build my case. If there are arguments that some of you might give against the thesis I propose, I would be glad to hear them.

One of the arguments often raised to support the idea that the Nephites spoke Hebrew and wrote Hebrew using Egyptian notation is the extensive use of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon. The argument goes like this.

Chiasmus is a Hebrew literary form found in the Bible.

The only way it could get into the Book of Mormon is through a tight translation from the underlying Hebrew of the Plates.

Therefore the plates were written in Hebrew using reformed Egyption characters in order to save space.

The problem with this logic is that chiasmus was a common literary form in all ancient cultures that maintained an oral history and was also incorporated into the written literature. See the following references.

Elisabeth Fiorenza, The Book of Revelation: Justice and Judgment

3 Elisabeth Fiorenza, The Book of Revelation: Justice and Judgment, 2d ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998), 176, notes significant uses of this dynamic in ancient Greek drama, as well as in Roman narrative and poetry. She cites two works that document this in considerable detail: (1) G. E. Duckworth, Structural Patterns and Proportions in Vergilâ??s Aeneid (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1962) and (2) J. L. Myres, Herodotus: Father of History (Oxford: Clarendon, 1953).

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/display.ph...ights&id=58

In "Chiasm in Sumero-Akkadian," Robert F. Smith offers a preliminary survey of evidence for chiasms of varying lengths in late Sumerian and Akkadian literary texts, concluding that essential chiastic forms were known and used by ancient Mesopotamian authors. Smith also compiled the book's massive index of chiastic structures in numerous bodies of literature.

The chiasmus could just as easily have come from an Egyptian background and literature as from the Hebrew.

Larry P

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Are you suggesting that the Lehites and their New World descendants didn't speak, read or write Hebrew?

I am not arguing that no one understood Hebrew. That is clearly not the case. But there is nothing in the Book of Mormon that would argue for Hebrew as being commonly used among the Lehities. In fact, it seems to explicitly contradict that conclusion.

I have never understood why so many people have argued for a Hebrew-speaking populace in the Book of Mormon, when the first verse of the book seems to answer that question in the negative. Nephi says that his father's language was Egyptian. Lehi says that the language of his fathers was Egyptian. And he says they retrieved the Plates of Brass in order to preserve that language for their children. And King Benjamin tells us that the Plates of Brass were written in Egyptian. Moroni tells us the plates were written "in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech." He explicitly identifies it as "our language" and tells us that "none other people knoweth our language". That alone would seem to preclude Hebrew as being their language.

Rather, the Book of Mormon is consistent throughout when speaking about their language: it's Egyptian -- or at least a variant thereof.

That's how I see it. If someone wants to present arguments, from the Book of Mormon, that dispute this conclusion, I welcome them.

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. Moroni tells us the plates were written "in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech." Rather, the Book of Mormon is consistent throughout when speaking about their language: it's Egyptian -- or at least a variant thereof.

That's how I see it. If someone wants to present arguments, from the Book of Mormon, that dispute this conclusion, I welcome them.

I agree completely

"of our manner of speech" not "our writing"

It always amazes me how we overlook short but important phrases like this one.

Larry P

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I have to agree with Kevin in post 9 and William in post 10 of this thread. The history of Lehi's family runs smoothly through Egyptian culture. In my own studies and some of the papers written on this leads me to support that the Egyptian influence was more than the Hebrew. The naming of his children with strong Egyptian ties and the plates written in Egyptian. The knowledge of Lehi about this comes through in 1st Nephi. I also believe that Laban was given the sword because of his direct descendants from Joseph and perhaps Laban kept that knowledge from Lehi to thwart any contesting of his rights to the artifacts. If the plates were made for a coronation or handed down I do not know however we do know that they were kept up to date on current events etc so the possibility they also being forged for King Josiah's coronation is possible.

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I agree completely

"of our manner of speech" not "our writing"

It always amazes me how we overlook short but important phrases like this one.

Larry P

I'm uncertain what conclusion you are drawing, Larry.

That they modified the language to reflect their manner of speech can mean many things. To me, the most logical changes would be altering characters to reflect phonetic changes through the years. For example, we no longer use the word "ensample" because it has morphed into "example," and its spelling has been altered accordingly.

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I'm uncertain what conclusion you are drawing, Larry.

That they modified the language to reflect their manner of speech can mean many things. To me, the most logical changes would be altering characters to reflect phonetic changes through the years. For example, we no longer use the word "ensample" because it has morphed into "example," and its spelling has been altered accordingly.

I think his point was that since Mormon says that they reformed Egyptian according to their speech, i.e. they actually spoke Egyptian, then the common language used among the Nephites would have been Egyptian.

I disagree that Egyptian would have taken prominence over Hebrew, however. Nephi never says that he did not teach his children Hebrew. And indeed, Mormon informs that not only did Hebrew still exist among the Nephites as late as the end of the fourth century, but that he was either more literate or more articulate in Hebrew (see Mormon 9:33).

If some form of Egyptian was the dominant language of the Nephites, why did Mormon say they he could write his record better in reformed Hebrew?

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I think his point was that since Mormon says that they reformed Egyptian according to their speech, i.e. they actually spoke Egyptian, then the common language used among the Nephites would have been Egyptian.

I disagree that Egyptian would have taken prominence over Hebrew, however. Nephi never says that he did not teach his children Hebrew. And indeed, Mormon informs that not only did Hebrew still exist among the Nephites as late as the end of the fourth century, but that he was either more literate or more articulate in Hebrew (see Mormon 9:33).

If some form of Egyptian was the dominant language of the Nephites, why did Mormon say they he could write his record better in reformed Hebrew?

Nephi never mentions Hebrew at all. The only language ever mentioned in the first 1000 years of Nephite history is Egyptian. Moroni (not Mormon) does say:

Mormon 9

33 ... if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.

34 But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language ...

There is nothing in that statement to indicate that Hebrew was the language of Moroni. Indeed, it is clear from verse 34 that his language was one that "none other people knoweth." In other words, it's the "reformed Egyptian" to which he made reference in verse 32:

... we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

The fact that Moroni was fluent in Hebrew is largely irrelevant, if you ask me. I'm fluent in Italian, but it's not my primary language. And, in some respects, I might say, "If I could tell you in Italian, it would make much more sense." Or something to that effect. All Moroni is really telling us in verse 33 is that their written language was not as powerful (in his view) as was Hebrew. Its virtue appears to be that it was compact.

But, no matter how you slice it, Lehi, Nephi, Benjamin, and Moroni all tell us that their language was Egyptian. It has only been modern readers of the Book of Mormon who have tried to impose a Hebrew template on the book. The text itself does not do that.

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There is nothing in that statement to indicate that Hebrew was the language of Moroni. Indeed, it is clear from verse 34 that his language was one that "none other people knoweth." In other words, it's the "reformed Egyptian" to which he made reference in verse 32:

Moroni was writing after the final battle at Cumorah, and he believed himself to be one of the last Nephites alive. Reformed Egyptian was most likely preserved by the Nephites only, not the Lamanites, and he realized that the language was going to die with them.

And Moroni says that the only reason he is writing in Egyptian is to preserve space. He says that "we" (which I assume includes Mormon as well) would have preferred writing in their reformed Hebrew and could have written better in it.

The fact that Moroni was fluent in Hebrew is largely irrelevant, if you ask me. I'm fluent in Italian, but it's not my primary language. And, in some respects, I might say, "If I could tell you in Italian, it would make much more sense." Or something to that effect. All Moroni is really telling us in verse 33 is that their written language was not as powerful (in his view) as was Hebrew. Its virtue appears to be that it was compact.

I disagree. I think the fact that Moroni was fluent in Hebrew is very relevant, assuming what we're talking about is what the popular language of the Nephites was. I would guess that the way you became fluent in Italian is by either going to Italy, where the popular language is Italian, or by being taught by someone who spoke Italian.

Moroni knew a reformed Hebrew -- and felt more comfortable writing in it than he did reformed Egyptian -- and the only way he would have learned it would be by being taught by others who spoke it.

And Moroni didn't say that he could better express a certain concept in Hebrew than Egyptian. He says clearly that there are problems with his reformed Egyptian, but that if he had been able to write in Hebrew, in which he was more adept, then "ye would have no imperfection in our record".

But, no matter how you slice it, Lehi, Nephi, Benjamin, and Moroni all tell us that their language was Egyptian. It has only been modern readers of the Book of Mormon who have tried to impose a Hebrew template on the book. The text itself does not do that.

Actually only Nephi and Moroni mention the record being in Egyptian.

Nephi tells us that his record is "in the language of [his] father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptian". I think Nephi is clearly saying that his record contains both elements of Hebrew (the learning of the Jews) and Egyptian, and the most sensible explanation is that it was Hebrew (or reformed Hebrew) written in an Egyptian script.

Benjamin mentions that Lehi knew Egyptian (which we already knew), and that the brass plates were in Egyptian (which we already knew). He doesn't say that he knew Egyptian (though he undoubtably did) or that Egyptian was the popular language of the Nephites as opposed to Hebrew.

And Moroni, of course, says that he could write in Hebrew better than Egyptian.

I don't think there is any evidence that Egyptian was the popular language of the Nephites as opposed to Hebrew. I think that Egyptian as the prominent language is more appealing, but I just don't see it.

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