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Alma’s Prophetic Commissioning Type Scene
|Alma’s Prophetic Commissioning Type Scene
|Year of Publication
|Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship
|Alma the Younger; Conversion; Paul (Apostle); Plagiarism
The story often referred to as Alma’s conversion narrative is too often interpreted as a simplistic plagiarism of Paul’s conversion-to-Christianity story in the book of Acts. Both the New and Old Testaments appropriate an ancient narrative genre called the prophetic commissioning story. Paul’s and Alma’s commissioning narratives hearken back to this literary genre, and to refer to either as pilfered is to misunderstand not just these individual narratives but the larger approach Hebraic writers used in composing biblical and Book of Mormon narrative. To the modern mind the similarity in stories triggers explanations involving plagiarism and theft from earlier stories and denies the historicity of the narratives; ancient writers — especially of Hebraic narrative — had a quite different view of such concerns. To deny the historical nature of the stories because they appeal to particular narrative conventions is to impose a mistaken modern conceptual framework on the texts involved. A better and more complex grasp of Hebraic narrative is a necessary first step to understanding these two (and many more) Book of Mormon and biblical stories.
For a summary of this article, check out Interpreting Interpreter: https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreting-interpreter-commissions-and-conversions
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