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Names in the Book of Mormon

(See also article by Jeff Lindsay)

Since names would most likely be transliterated and would closely follow the original, they give a good test for the language of the original documents.

The Jews in 600 BC at the time that Lehi took his family and left Jerusalem where heavily influenced by the Egyptians and the Book of Mormon even mentions the use of the "language of the Egyptians." Therefor the names in the Book of Mormon should show both Hebrew and Egyptian influences.

"It is hard to explain bull's-eyes like Korihor, Pahoran, and Paankhi as pure accidents. Paankhi was a popular Egyptian name in the seventh century B.C., but it was not known until the end of the last century; and what American would dream of cooking up such combinations as "aa" or "kh"? Interestingly enough, there are two separate Korihors . . . in the Old World, the one a genuine Egyptian name (Kerihor, Hurhor, etc., was a high priest of Ammon and chief judge who seized the throne in 1085 B.C.), and the other of Asiatic origin going back to the dawn of history.[1] This is interesting because there are also two forms of the name in the Book of Mormon, the one (Corihor) being an impor- tant Jardite name, and the other (Korihor) the name of a Nephite chief judge.

Book of Mormon theophoric names such as Gadianhi, Korihor, Amnihor, etc., follow the proper rules of construction with the conventional employment of mimation [ending with ~m] and nunation [ending in ~n]. The Egyptian names even fall into the Old World statistical pattern with an absolute predominance of the name Ammon, with Manti second in order, and a heavy emphasis on names beginning with "Pa" and high fre- quency of the elements "mor" and "hor".[2]

In 1948 it was pointed out that there was a tendency for the Egyptian and Hebrew names in the Book of Mormon to turn up in the Elephantine region of Upper Egypt. But then it was noticed that Prof. Albright observed that at the time Lehi left Jerusalem the remaining people " hid in the wilds during the siege . . ." and when all was lost fled to Egypt. And where did they settle? At Elephantine, far up the Nile.[3]

The most frequent "theophoric" element in the Book of Mormon and Egyptian names is Ammon.

Boof of Mormon names follow the same rules of formation as the Egyp- tian names.

Mimation (ending with ~m) predominated with Jaredite names (2000 to 600 BC), and nunation (ending with ~n) predominates= in Nephite and Lamanite names. This is strictly in keeping with the development of languages in the Old World.

A large proportion of Book of Mormon names end in ~iah and ~ihah. The same is true of Palestinian names of Lehi's time but of no other.

The names that are not Egyptian or Hebrew are Arabic, Hittite, or Greek. This corresponds with the purported origin of the book.

Lehi is a real personal name, unknown at the time of Joseph Smith.

Baal names (names compounded with the theophoric Baal element) which thrive in the Old Testament are not found at all in the Book of Mormon. We now know that for some reason the Jews of the beginning of the sixth century BC would have nothing to do with Baal names. ". . . out of some four hundred personal names among the Elephantine papyri, not one is compounded of Baal . . ."[4]

Recently there have discovered lists of names that Nebuchadnezzar brought back to Babylon from his expeditions in Syria and Palestine. Among them are a respectable portion of Egyptian names. According to D. H. Thomas, this list shows that it was popular at the time to name children after Egyptian hero kings of the past.[5] The name Aha, which a Nephite general bestowed on his son, means "warrior" and was borne by the legendary first hero king of Egypt. Himni, Korihor, Paanchi, Pakumeni, Sam, Zeezrom, Ham, Manti, Nephi and Zenoch are all Egyptian hero names.[6]

Additional evidences could be cited such as the large number of ~iah names in the age of Jeremiah, pendant names characteristic of the area, and even the comparison of the names with the activities of the individuals and verifying that they match the meaning of the names.

Admittedly the study of names is open to much speculation in understanding sounds of words and making the associations. This is not a conclusive proof but it adds to the others that I have mentioned and will mention. However, each of these points could be expanded upon if anyone is interested.

[1] B. Hrozny, Ancient History of Western Asia p. 111, Cf. Sir Alan Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs p. 157

[2] Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah p. 193-4

[3] W. F. Albright, Archaeol. & the Relig. of Isreal, p. 5f.

[4] W. F. Albright, Archaeol. & the Relig. of Isreal, p. 160.

[5] D. W. Thomas, Palest, Explor, Quarterly, 1950, pp. 5ff.

[6] Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon p. 246