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Nephite History in Context 2a: Apocryphon of Jeremiah

Editor’s Note: This is the first part of the second contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here
Apocryphon of Jeremiah (4Q385a)
Background
Between 1947 and 1956, a few well preserved scrolls and tens of thousands of broken fragments were found scattered across eleven different caves along the northwest shores of the Dead Sea near Qumran. Now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, they are arguably the most significant discovery ever made for the study of the Bible and the origins of Judaism and Christianity. Among the writings found are the earliest copies of nearly every Old Testament book, many of the known apocryphal and pseudepigraphic works, and several other texts discovered for the first time at Qumran. Altogether, more than 900 differe…
Recent posts

“Dynamically Equivalent” Translation and the Book of Mormon

As I’ve been working on my new project, I’ve frequently consulted different collections of various ancient Near Eastern documents. I like to consult multiple translations of the same document so as to avoid making any assumptions or connections based solely on the English translation of a particular scholar. Sometimes parts of the text are difficult to decipher due to their fragmentary nature or other circumstances, eliciting greater variety in translation, but for the most part, differences between translations are minor or incidental, reflecting some differences in translators’ preferences and little more.
One of the collections I sometimes consult, however, often has very different translations: Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East, 3rd ed. (New York, NY/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2006), by Victor H. Matthews and Don C. Benjamin. Matthews (PhD, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandies) is a professor of Religious Studies at Missouri State Universi…

Blog Update: November 2017

Despite warning a couple years ago that I have less time for blogging than ever before, and that I may stop as I now have so many alternative outlets for sharing my ideas, I have generally managed to post fairly regularly here, even if less often than I used to. The one major exception was this summer, when I failed to post anything here from July to September. I was actually doing a lot of research and writing at that time, but none of it made its appearance on this blog. Now that I have started blogging a bit again, I figure I ought to update folks on what happened over the summer.
First, toward the middle or end of June, Loyd Ericson of Greg Kofford Books reached out to me and asked if I would write an essay for their book Perspectives on Mormon Theology: Apologetics. The catch? The book was coming out in about a month, so he needed my essay in about 2 weeks. Although I already had 2 other papers I was working on (see below), I decided to go for it. The outcome was my paper, “Boun…

Nephite History in Context 1: Jerusalem Chronicle

Editor’s Note: This is the first contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here
Jerusalem Chronicle (ABC 5/BM 21946)
Background
The so-called “Babylonian Chronicles” are an important collection of brief historical reports from Mesopotamia, found in Iraq in the late-19th century.1 They are written on clay tablets in Akkadian using cuneiform script, and cover much of the first millennium BC, although several tablets are missing or severely damaged, leaving gaps in the record. One tablet, colloquially known as the “Jerusalem Chronicle” (ABC 5/BM 21946),2 provides brief annal-like reports of the early reign of Nebuchadrezzar II (biblical Nebuchadnezzar), including mention of his invasion of Jerusalem.
Biblical sources report that King Jehoiac…