There are 10 thoughts on “Samuel the Lamanite, Christ, and Zenos: A Study of Intertextuality”.

  1. In all fairness Loren if you criticize Carmack for his opinion then you should also criticize Quinten for voicing his opinion. Just my opinion.

    • Steven
      In all fairness to Stanford, I actually like his research, and agree with most of it. I do believe that he overreaches at times, but perhaps we all do. And, I would prefer to say that I challenge some of his opinions rather than criticize them. If it comes off as criticism then I need to change my writing style.

  2. Interesting research and intertextual connections between the prophets and Christ. However, I think you are dismissing what may be a more simple explanation for the connections. Nephi stated that, “Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ.” (2 Nephi 32:3) Prophets as well as angels speak the words of Christ, as Nephi further states, “hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ…” (2 Nephi 33:10) The teachings of the prophets are the words of Christ and originate with Him. When Jesus quotes the prophets He is quoting His own words that He gave to the prophets.
    “For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them…For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it…” (2 Nephi 29:11-12)
    Jesus Christ is the source of the words of the prophets and he gave similar words to the prophets of the Old World as He did to the Book of Mormon Prophets. Samuel the Lamanite may well have received some the words of Christ from the writings of the prophet Zenos, but he could also have received them directly from Christ.

  3. I like the unique parallel between you’ve pointed out between Zenos and Samuel. However, I’m wary of the numerous explanations that Suggest a common source at the root of intertextuality which seem to be popping up. It seems pretty clear that the BOM is Intertextual with the KJV new and old testaments in many situations that do not have any obvious common source. Moroni’s paraphrase of Paul’s gifts of the spirits and Mormon’s allusions to Paul’s comments on charity come to mind (2 Nephi 26:30 also comments that those without charity are “nothing,” which defies some set of hypothesized Jesus teachings that are alluded to but not referred to directly being a common source). Anytime the BOM refers to the texts in the Priestly strand also seems to defy a common source explanation as does Nephi’s chunks of Isaiah that scholars have largely attributed to a Babylonian exhile source. I can think of numerous other, though less sizable, BOM interactions with important NT verses as well. Amulek’s and Helaman’s explanations that people will be saved “from their sins” seems to be a clear interaction with Matthew 1:21 (this phrase has 2 exact matches in the OT as well, however the single exact NT match in Matthew also has the perfect matching context). Another example is the spirit’s instructions to Nephi to kill Laban in 1 Nephi 4:13 which shares phraseology with Caiaphus’s prophecy of Jesus’s needful death in John 11:49-53. This same language and explanation are used to justify Korihor’s punishment in Alma 30:47. One of the phrases here “that one man should” is entirely unique to 1st Nelhi and Caiaphus’s words references twice in John. These are just a couple of grains from the tip of the iceberg as many informed BOM readers know. The data of BOM intertextuality is so rich it would seem that a more encompassing hypothesis ia called for. If we go down the road of common source texts we will have to continually come up with more and more hypothesized common sources. While the parallel between Zenos and Samuel is very interesting, I think we need a more robust approach to intertextuality generally.

    • Hi Ben,
      Thanks for reading, and thank you for taking the time to comment. You brought up some good points, including some parallel passages I had never noticed before. I obviously can’t prove a common source between the words of Samuel and Christ, but if I may, I’d like to offer a few thoughts that perhaps might clarify my argument of it being at least a strong possibility?
      I agree that there are many unique phrases shared between the Bible and Book of Mormon. What I find unique with the example of Samuel however, is not just the fact that he shares unique phrases with biblical passages, but also the amount, length, and frequency of those phrases within only several pages of text (several pages of text not only in Helaman, but Matthew as well). I believe that these elements, along with context, add strength to the argument of a relation between the texts, including the possibility of a common source.
      In contrast, there are many phrases found in both the Book of Mormon and the Bible that nevertheless lack evidence of intertextuality. For example, arguing a relation between Amulek, Helaman, and Matthew based on a single three word phrase “from their sins,” while still possible, doesn’t necessarily carry with it the same weight of evidence, as it remains a short, isolated phrase. Were there other parallels between these authors found close by, the argument would of course be strengthened, and one might begin to wonder if a common source were possible.
      Of course, the case for Samuel is not the only example of what I would call strong intertextuality. Nephi’s use of Isaiah is obviously the best known example of this happening, as well as the example of charity and the gifts of the spirit that you noted in your comment. There are plenty others, as I’m sure you’re aware of.
      I hope these thoughts at least help clarify what I argue in my article.

      • I think you make an excellent case for intertextuality between Samuel, Christ, and 1 Nephi. That interaction seems fairly certain, especially when you consider the other wealth of BOM interactions. I agree that it meets Nick Frederick’s criteria of proximity very well with lots of interacting phrases in a short span, and I also agree that my smaller examples aren’t as strong. My point in introducing them was to introduce a less definite category that potentially contains hundreds of phrasal and/or similar wording examples.
        My point is that even if the common source argument is convincing in some examples (this one appears to, from the vantage point of the BOM text, be convincing), it is less convincing from all vantage points in plenty of other examples. My suggestion isn’t for specific revision of this article, but instead a more encompassing hypothesis that can address the general intertextuality of the BOM with texts it has no business interacting with from a historical perspective (all the ones I’ve listed previously, and will add to that another major examples in BOM interactions with the Narrative of Zosimus and Nick Frederick’s outline of interactions between the BOM and the Prologue of the Gospel of John).

  4. Intertextual approaches, like this one, are a wave of our future. More explication might have been prudent.
    I am also moving to seeing Book patterns less from an NT than an OT. Intertextuality seems to require this, though the Book’s narrative type of theological reasoning is applicable to both.
    Great work, well-played!

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