There are 8 thoughts on “Alma — Young Man, Hidden Prophet”.

  1. Pingback: KnoWhy OTL15A — How Do the Serpent and the Shewbread Symbolize Christ? | The Interpreter Foundation

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  3. You excellent article mentions that “‘elem” is translated once in the King James Version to mean “stripling” (1 Samuel 17: 56). This brings to mind the 2,000 “stripling warriors” of Helaman. Is it possible that the word on the plates for “stripling” was, in fact, “‘elem” or something similar to it? If so, this might indicate an effort by Helaman, who chose the word, to pay homage to his father Alma the Younger by calling them “Alma warriors”. What do you think?
    On a tangential point, is it possible that the name of Helaman is somehow derivative to the name of his father Alma, as both contain the consonants “l” and “m” in the same adjacent order. I do not see this possibility explored in the onomasticon of Book or Mormon names.
    I also note that the name Helaman contains the name Laman and that “He” in Hebrew means “God”. Is this a possible connection? Again, I do not see this explored in the onomasticon.
    Please bear in mind that I do not speak or read understand Hebrew so all my questions and speculations may be hopelessly naive!

    • Hi Mark,
      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I do think the word ʿelem is the word for “stripling” elsewhere in the Book of Alma. In fact, I have been working on a follow-up paper on this for a while (forthcoming). I have accumulated quite a bit of data on this. And yes, I do think he (and Mormon) are honoring his father. There is even more to how Helaman (and Mormon) tell their as you will see in that paper. I have some thoughts on the name Helaman, as well. I’m not sure, as yet, how much of them will be included in the final product.

  4. //Oliver Cowdery must have attached some importance to the nearly missed clauses in the text, hence his re-inscribing them into the printer’s manuscript “in heavier ink” as if for conscious or subconscious emphasis.//
    While I appreciate the effort to understand the Book of Mormon based on scholastic insight, I also sometimes get the impression that too much is read into some texts in an effort to intellectualize everything as occurring with deliberateness, including some hypothesized parallels (even subconscious deliberateness!?). The above would be a prime candidate, in my view.
    Why would the insertion in darker ink have any interpretive significance at all beyond having freshly dipped his pen in ink to make the insertion (or even the use of a different pen with different ink flow characteristics)?

    • The point I was attempting to make here, John, is that Oliver Cowdery recognized that he had made a made a mistake with the omission of these clauses and that he took care to re-inscribe them, rather than simply leaving them out (which he might easily have done). As Royal Skousen notes, the text would read just fine without them. If I had to guess–and this is just a guess–Oliver recognized that the datum “he also being a descendant of Nephi” was somehow important to the narrative, even if the datum “and he was a young man” seemed somewhat incidental.
      In any case, we are fortunate that Oliver caught and corrected the omission of both phrases. Otherwise the transparent wordplay on “Alma” in terms of “young man” (a grammatically singular description that occurs only here in the Book of Mormon) would be undetectable in Mosiah 17:2. The wordplay involving the name Alma evident throughout Mosiah 17–18 is really the point of this paper, not ink heaviness (should we be tempted to strain at gnats). The latter is a tangential issue.

  5. I certainly hope your work will result in a book! Thank you! Not bad for the “…ignorant plow by.”
    For those who doubt the Hebrew origin of the name Alma, and I know you know this, the original find and translation of “Alma ben Yahuda” was the famous Israeli archaeologist, Yigael Yadin. No Mormon bias involved.

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