the literary book of mormon

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  • The Literary Book of MormonDr. Gideon Burton Brigham Young University Presentation to the Association for Mormon Letters BYU Student ChapterFebruary 15, 2007

  • Reasons for Reading the Book of Mormon as LiteratureProvides proof of the historicity of the book

  • Its Egyptian!The first three verses of 1 Nephiare a typical colophon, a literary device that is highly characteristic of Egyptian compositions, such as in the Bremer-Rhind Papyrus. Nephi gives first his name, than the merits of his parents with special attention to the learning of his father and an avowal that the record is true, and I make it with mine own hand. Egyptian literary writings regularly close with the formula iw-f-pw thus it is as does Nephi 11 Franklin S. Harris

  • Its Hebrew!The second type [of Hebrew literary forms found in the Book of Mormon] is antithetical parallelism in which the thought of the first line is emphasized, or confirmed by a contrasted thought expressed in the second line:To be carnally minded is death, And to be spiritually-minded is life eternal--Franklin S. Harris

  • Its Middle Eastern!Lehis desert poems in 1 Nephi 2:9-10 are a literary form Hugh Nibley as identified as an Arabic quasida. adapted from Richard Dilworth Rust and Donald Perry, Book of Mormon as Literature

  • Reasons for Reading the Book of Mormon as LiteratureProvides proof of its historicityLiterature is sophisticated, so if our scripture is impressive, then so are we MormonsBetter appreciate the books creationBetter understand its doctrinesBetter feel its effects

  • Literary ActivitiesRecord KeepingDraftingRevising / CorrectingTranslatingRedactingEditingPublishingTransmitting

  • DramaticLiteraryOratoricalOverlapping Fields of DiscoursePoeticalLinguistic

  • Narrative GenresJournal / Diary Family historiesPolitical historiesAnnals of military campaignsEpicParable / AllegoryDetective story

  • Literary ElementsSettingPlot (including flashbacks / foreshadowing)Characters / CharacterizationDialogueFigurative LanguageImagerySymbolismDramatization Narrator and Narrative commentaryAllusions

  • Linguistic Elements(Dictionlevel of words and phrases)Word pairs (great and terrible signs and wonders) Merisms (nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples)Idioms (make bare his arm; ends of the earth)Aphorisms (For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things)Antithetical pairings (Jew and Gentile; choose life or death; mortality raised to immortality; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon)

  • Figurative LanguageSchemesAnadiplosis ParallelismAntithesisClimaxParenthesisTmesisAppositionRepetition TropesMetaphorsSimilesApostrophe Personification Hyperbole Exergasia Polysyndeton

  • Poetical GenresPsalmLamentationLyric poetry

  • Literary LamentationsAh, love, let us be trueTo one another! for the world, which seemsTo lie before us like a land of dreams,So various, so beautiful, so new,Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;And we are here as on a darkling plainSwept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,Where ignorant armies clash by night.from Matthew Arnolds Dover Beach

  • Literary LamentationsOur revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.from The Tempest, by Shakespeare

  • Literary LamentationsI conclude this saying thatthe time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days. Jacob from the Book of Mormon (Jacob 7:26)

  • Rhetorical genres

    SpeechesSermons Political OratoryMilitary AddressesDebatesInterviews

  • Rhetorical ElementsRhetorical ModesExpositionNarrationDescriptionTypes of Discourse Direct / IndirectReported NarrativesQuestions

  • Onomastics(Naming)Multiple Names of Christ: 60 namesNew names: Irreantum, curelom, deseret, urim & thummim, rameumptom, liahonaConventions of naming places and people

  • Literary Themes and MotifsObey and prosper (conceptual motif)Wars and contentionsPrideLand of PromiseFleeingNamingPreservingRememberingVisitations of angels (plot motif)Sword / word Imagistic motifs

  • The Functions of FormBeing aware of formal features of a sacred text attunes one to the various functions and effects of those forms that condition the understanding and appreciation of the text.

  • Any difference?The Red Wheelbarrow

    so much dependsupon

    a red wheel barrow

    glazed with rainwater

    beside the whitechickens.

    --William Carlos WilliamsThe Red Wheelbarrow

    So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens.

    --William Carlos Williams

  • What effects from the forms?Chaptering?Paragraphing?Versification?Layout?

  • Function of Layout: ChiasmusA BB A

  • Book of Mormon manuscript

  • Book of Mormon1830 (1st) edition

  • Special Attention through Verses

  • The Psalm of Nephi (1)

  • The Psalm of Nephi (1)

  • The Psalm of Nephi (2)

  • Book of Mormon1980 Church Edition

  • 1830 Book of Mormon

  • Book of MormonGolden Plates

  • Book of MormonManuscript of English Translation

  • Book of MormonA Readers Edition, ed. Grant Hardy(University of Illinois, 2003)

  • Illustrated Book of Mormon

  • Book of MormonDigital Audio Edition

  • Book of MormonFamily Study Edition

  • The Book of MormonNon-English Translations

  • Book of Mormon Scholarly Edition

  • Golden Plates Graphic Novel edition

  • The Literary Book of MormonDr. Gideon Burton Brigham Young University Presentation to the Association for Mormon Letters BYU Student ChapterFebruary 15, 2007