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The Last Words of Cenez and the Book of Mormon
|The Last Words of Cenez and the Book of Mormon
|Year of Publication
|Welch, John W.
|Ricks, Stephen D., and John W. Welch
|The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5
|Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies/Deseret Book
|Provo, UT/Salt Lake City
|Cenez; Prophet; Zenock/Zenoch (Prophet); Zenos (Prophet)
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The Last Words of Cenez and the Book of Mormon
John W. Welch
A Hebrew text, most likely written as early as the time of Christ and possibly containing materials that are considerably older, gives an alternative history of the Jews from the creation of the world to the time of King David. The work has survived in several Latin manuscripts; the Latin is a translation of a Greek translation of the original Hebrew.1 Virtually unknown until the late nineteenth century, the work has been called Biblical Antiquities or Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, and an English translation is most readily available in Charlesworth's Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.2 Its unknown author is called Pseudo-Philo because the work was fortuitously collected long ago among a number of manuscripts containing the writings of Philo of Alexandria.
In part of this history, the unknown author tells of a great prophet-warrior-leader (briefly mentioned in the Bible where he is named Kenaz; see Joshua 15:17; Judges 1:13; 3:9; 1 Chronicles 4:13, 15). According to this text, Kenaz succeeded Joshua and became the next judge in Israel. The precise spelling of this man's name is obscure: in one Latin manuscript it is Cenez; in another, Zenec; and in a third, Zenez. Daniel J. Harrington, translator of the text in Charlesworth's Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, spells the name as Kenaz. Traditions about him were well enough known that he is mentioned by Josephus, who knew him as Keniazos.3 I will call him Cenez, following the principal Latin manuscript.
The main question I wish to explore is how Cenez and his story compare with Book of Mormon figures such as Zenos and Zenoch and their writings. Details in this section of the Pseudo-Philo conform closely enough to the materials in Jacob 4-6 that one must wonder about the possibility that Jacob knew either the story of Cenez or another account similar to it.
The Cenez Episode and Jacob 4-6
According to Pseudo-Philo, Cenez ruled the Israelites for fifty-seven years. During his lifetime he purged his people by burning all of the self-confessing covenant breakers. Then he went forth to protect his people by single-handedly wielding a sword that shone like a lightning bolt in vanquishing a large army of Amorites.
When the time came for him to die, Cenez called his people together in a large assembly, reminiscent of several similar assemblies convened late in life by Book of Mormon leaders. Cenez told his audience what the Lord was prepared to do for his people in the last days. At this assembly, like King Benjamin in Mosiah 5, Cenez renewed God's covenant with the Israelites, and his priest Phinehas revealed to the people sacred things that had been shown to Phinehas's father in a dream by night (cf. also Mosiah 3:2).
While this entire episode of covenant-renewal is of interest to students of the Book of Mormon, I will focus here only on the allegory of the vineyard given by God to Phinehas's father, for it compares significantly with Zenos's allegory as well as with Jacob's surrounding introduction and commentary in Jacob 4 and 6.
The relevant portion of the Old World text reads:
And when the days of Kenaz drew near for him to die, he sent and summoned all of them and Jabis and Phinehas the two prophets and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and he said to them, "Behold now the Lord has shown to me all his wonders that he is ready to do for his people in the last days. And now I will establish my covenant with you today [disponam testamentum meum vobiscum hodie] so that you do not abandon the Lord your God after my departure. For you have seen all the wonders that came upon those who sinned and what they declared in confessing their sins voluntarily, or how the Lord our God destroyed them because they transgressed against his covenant. Now therefore spare those of your household and your children, and stay in the paths of the Lord your God lest the Lord destroy his own inheritance."
And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said, "If Kenaz the leader and the prophets and the elders command it, I will speak the word that I heard from my father when he was dying, and I will not be silent about the command that he commanded me while his soul was being taken away."
And Kenaz the leader and the prophets said, "Speak, Phinehas. Should anyone speak before the priest who guards the commandments of the Lord our God, especially since truth goes forth from his mouth and a shining light from his heart?"
And then Phinehas said, "While my father was dying, he commanded me, saying,
'These words you will say to the sons of Israel':
When you were gathered together in the assembly, the Lord appeared to me three days ago in a dream by night and said to me, "Behold you have seen and also your father before you how much I have toiled among my people. But after your death this people will rise up and corrupt its ways and turn from my commands, and I will be very angry with them. But I will recall that time that was before the creation of the world, the time when man did not exist and there was no wickedness in it, when I said that the world would be created and those who would come into it would praise me. And I would plant a great vineyard [plantabo mihi vineam grandem], and from it I would choose a plant [de ea eligam plantationem]; and I would care for it [disponam eam] and call it by my name, and it would be mine forever. When I did all the things that I said, nevertheless my plant that was called by my name did not recognize me as its planter, but it destroyed its own fruit [corrumpet fructum suum] and did not yield up its fruit to me [did not bring forth its fruit; non proferat fructum eius]."'
And this is what my father commanded me to say to this people."
And Kenaz and the elders and all the people lifted up their voices and wept [with one accord, unanimiter] with great lamentation until evening and said, "Will the Shepherd destroy his flock for any reason except that it has sinned against him? And now he is the one who will spare us according to the abundance of his mercy, because he has toiled so much among us."
And when they had sat down, a holy spirit [spiritus sanctus] came upon Kenaz and dwelled in him and put him in ecstasy, and he began to prophesy, saying, "Behold now I see what I had not hoped for, and I perceive that I did not understand. Hear now, you who dwell on the earth, just as those staying a while on it prophesied before me and saw this hour [commorantes in ea prophetaverunt ante me videntes horam hanc] even before the earth was corrupted, so all of you who dwell in it may know the prophecies that have been fixed in advance [predestinatas prophetationes]."
Several similarities can be observed between the account of Cenez and the words of Jacob and Zenos in Jacob 4-6:
1. Cenez's farewell assembly occurred at a time when it was "near for him to die." Similarly, Jacob evidently wrote Jacob 4-6 toward the end of his life, as he reflected on his own ministry and writings (Jacob 4:1-3) and bade his people "farewell" (Jacob 6:13).4 Furthermore, beginning with Jacob 5:1, it appears that Jacob's farewell record consists mainly of words that he delivered orally to a Nephite assembly, for he speaks directly to his "brethren" (Jacob 5:1; 6:1, 5, 11) in the second person ("you" or "ye," Jacob 4:18; 5:1; 6:1, 5-13); presumably they were listening to him speak that day (Jacob 6:6).
2. Cenez announced his purpose: to tell what the Lord had shown to him, particularly all the Lord's wonders and what he was prepared to do for his people "in the last days." Jacob also prophesied ("I said unto you that I would prophesy, behold, this is my prophecy," Jacob 6:1) what will happen when the Lord sets his hand "the second time to recover his people, . . . even the last time" (Jacob 6:2).
3. Cenez then instructed Phinehas to tell the assembly the words of his dying father, Eleazar, in order to encourage the sons of Israel to "stay in the paths of the Lord," for otherwise God will destroy them "because they transgressed against his covenant." Likewise, Jacob quoted the words of Zenos about the allegory of the olive tree to encourage his people to be "reconciled unto [the Lord] through the atonement of Christ" (Jacob 4:11), to show that God will remember his covenant people (Jacob 6:4), and to warn them that they will be utterly destroyed unless they "continue in the way which is narrow" (Jacob 6:7-11).
4. Phinehas had been commanded by his father to reveal these things to Israel at a special time when the people were "gathered together in the assembly." Otherwise, Phinehas was to remain silent about this revelation until commanded to speak. Similarly, Jacob held off in giving the interpretation of the "mystery" of the olive tree until the closing hour of his ministry, and he experienced considerable anxiety in unfolding this sacred information to his people (Jacob 4:18).5 In addition, the command of Eleazar was given by a father to his son: Eleazar entrusted his son with sacred knowledge to be preserved and transmitted to subsequent generations. Commands from fathers to sons also figure prominently in the protection and transmission of sacred knowledge in the Book of Mormon (for example, Jacob 1:2-3; 7:27).
5. The words of the Lord to Eleazar began by acknowledging how much the Lord had toiled among his people. Likewise, the allegory in Jacob 5 tells repeatedly how the Lord worked many long seasons to nourish and cultivate his beloved olive tree and how his servants also labored diligently to make it productive (see Jacob 5:25, 51, 61).
6. Eleazar referred back to the creation of the world, giving his message an eternal and permanent dimension: "I will recall that time that was before the creation of the world, . . . when I said that the world would be created." Similarly, the allegory of Zenos uses words and phrases that can be recognized as possible allusions to the creation accounts in Genesis or the book of Abraham: for example, "and he beheld that it was good" (Jacob 5:17, 20; Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25), "be one" (Jacob 5:68; Genesis 2:24), "let us go down" (Jacob 5:15, 29, 38; Genesis 11:7; Abraham 4:1, 26), and from "the beginning" (Jacob 5:74; Genesis 1:1).
7. Eleazar was next told that, despite the Lord's work, the people of Israel would rise up and become corrupt. The decaying of the tree and the corruption of the fruit is mentioned several times in Jacob 5 (see 5:3, 39, 42, 46-48).
8. To this the Lord exclaimed, "And I will be very angry with them." Indeed, in Zenos's allegory, the Lord at one point was virtually overcome with grief and had determined to destroy the entire vineyard: "Let us go to and hew down the trees of the vineyard and cast them into the fire" (Jacob 5:49).
9. But the Lord promised Eleazar that he will, at that point, reconsider. At this same point of grief, the servant of the Lord in Jacob 5 prevailed upon the Lord to "spare it a little longer" (Jacob 5:50).
10. Next Eleazar was told how God's plan was to plant a great vineyard and choose a particular plant that would become special to him. God would care for it and call it by his name and it would be his forever. These words are echoed in Jacob 5 with the Lord's tender love for his precious tree (Jacob 5:4, 7, 11, 13, 32) and his desire to lay up fruit "against the season" (Jacob 5:76).
11. As in the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5, Eleazar was also told, however, that the plant would not yield up fruit to God because it would not recognize God as its planter and would destroy its own fruit. Jacob prophesied, in a similar manner, that the Jews would not recognize the prophets (Jacob 4:14) and that they would reject Christ (Jacob 4:15), and because of their own desires they would cause themselves to stumble.
12. After hearing these troubling words, the people of Cenez lifted up their voices with one accord (unanimiter) to plead with the good shepherd to admit their guilt and ask him to preserve his flock (cf. Mosiah 4:2). In particular they threw themselves upon the Lord's mercy, knowing that he loved them because he had toiled so much among them. The same result was on Jacob's mind: "How merciful is our God unto us, for he remembereth the house of Israel, both roots and branches; and he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long; . . . Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, . . . and while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts" (Jacob 6:4-5).
13. On seeing the repentant attitude of his people, Cenez was filled with the Holy Ghost and he prophesied to all people who dwell on earth, affirming that all prophets who have ever pondered this point have seen "this hour" and have known the future as set forth in God's plan of salvation. Jacob also emphasized this precise point, stating that "all the holy prophets which were before us" knew of Christ and had a hope of his glory (Jacob 4:4). "Behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old" (Jacob 4:13).
Some of the foregoing similarities may be coincidental and unremarkable, but taken together they form an impressive and noteworthy array. Together, these items point consistently to the probability of some relationship between the two texts. Given the Palestinian provenance of the Pseudo-Philo,6 these similarities corroborate the Hebrew origins of the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5. Furthermore, the fact that the Cenez episode has close affinities not only with Zenos's allegory but also with the thematic settings in which Jacob quotes Zenos leads even more distinctly to the position that Jacob 4-6 was patterned after Pseudo-Philo 25-28 or some other very similar Hebrew source.
Is It Possible that Cenez Was Zenos or Zenoch?
In Since Cumorah and in several firesides given in the 1960s,7 Hugh Nibley referred to the rediscovery in the 1890s of the Jewish stories about Cenez in Pseudo-Philo. He strongly suggested that there might be some connection between (1) Cenez, (2) the author of the Thanksgiving Hymns from Qumran, and (3) the Book of Mormon prophet Zenos (also variously spelled as Zenoz and Zenas8). Despite the similarities of name and of obvious details, it seems to me that Pseudo-Philo's Cenez cannot be the same person as the Book of Mormon Zenos. Cenez is depicted as a very powerful and popular leader who successfully suppressed dissidents, as one who instilled "fear among all his enemies all his days" (27:16), and who died in peace at an old age (28:1, 10). The Book of Mormon reports, however, that Zenos was beleaguered, unpopular (Alma 33:10), and "did testify boldly; for the which he was slain" (Helaman 8:19).
Zenos is quoted quite extensively in the Book of Mormon, but outside of Jacob 5 little connection can be drawn between the known words of Zenos and the account of Cenez. Alma 33:4-11 gives part of a thanksgiving hymn by Zenos blessing God for hearing his prayer and visiting his enemies "in [God'scb anger with speedy destruction . . . because of [his] son." Zenos also spoke "concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of [Jesus's] death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea" (1 Nephi 19:10). Neither of these details are found in the account of Cenez.
It also seems unlikely that Cenez was the prophet known to Book of Mormon writers as Zenoch (the name is spelled Zenoch in the Original Manuscript, as Royal Skousen has pointed out9). Despite the fact that the name Cenez is Zenec in one of the manuscripts of Pseudo-Philo,10 the Book of Mormon indicates that Zenoch was stoned for his prophesying.11 Moreover, Cenez was of the tribe of Caleb (apparently of the tribe of Judah), while Zenoch was of the tribe of Joseph (3 Nephi 10:16-17). Thus an identity here is also unlikely.
Zenoch is quoted twice in the Book of Mormon. He prophesied that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would "be lifted up" (1 Nephi 19:10), which Nephi understood as a prophecy about the suffering of the Messiah. Second, he is quoted as having said, "Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son" (Alma 33:16). Zenoch's words were used to add collateral support to the messianic prophecies of Nephi, Zenos, and others (1 Nephi 19:10; Alma 33:15; 34:7; Helaman 8:19), but one can only assume that the prophecies of Zenoch in this regard were no more specific than is indicated in these faint references, for otherwise Nephi and Alma would have quoted the more explicit language. Thus, we know that Zenoch prophesied (1) that God would be "lifted up" ("exalted"? "set upon a pole" as in Numbers 21:8?, or "hung on a tree" as in Deuteronomy 21:22?); (2) that God had or would have a "son" ("Jesus"? an "anointed one"? "the king"? cf. Psalms 2:6-7); (3) that mercy would come through that son (cf. "kiss the Son [for example, the anointed king of Israel] . . . Blessed are all they that put their trust in him," Psalms 2:12); and (4) that God would be angry because the people would not understand his mercies unto them (cf. Jacob 4:14). But beyond this, the surviving Zenoch material does not extend.
Although the genealogy of Zenoch and the deaths of Zenos and Zenoch, coupled with the dearth of other information about these two figures, make it impossible to identify either of them with Cenez, a case can be made establishing indirect or somewhat removed connections between Cenez and the Book of Mormon prophets Zenos and Zenoch. Most notable is the allegory of the vineyard given in Cenez's account. As in Jacob 5, the plant forgets God, its planter, and corrupts its fruit, and its destruction is foretold. On hearing this allegory, Cenez and his elders "lift up" their voices and weep until evening, saying, "Will the Shepherd destroy his flock? . . . He is the one who will spare us according to the abundance of his mercy" (28:5); similarly, Zenos praised God specifically for his mercies (Alma 33:11, 16). Likewise, God came swiftly to the aid of Cenez to destroy his enemies (Pseudo-Philo 27:1-14), upon which Cenez's people exclaimed, "Now we know that the Lord has decided to save his people; he does not need a great number but only holiness" (Pseudo-Philo 27:14), and Zenos thanked God for visiting his enemies "in [his] anger with speedy destruction" (Alma 33:10). Furthermore, those who will be saved, according to Cenez, are those who will have the correct name (Pseudo-Philo 28:9; cf. Mosiah 5:8-12). These and other similarities constitute a substantial series of correlations between the Book of Mormon Zenos and the Cenez of Pseudo-Philo. It is possible, then, to assume that the words of Cenez, Phinehas, or Eleazar, or traditional words like them, were known in pre-exilic Israel by the Book of Mormon Zenos, who drew upon those words or reflected similar backgrounds as he composed his writings.
Was a History of Cenez on the Plates of Brass?
Other similarities between the episode of Cenez and Jacob 4-6 raise the further question: Could a history of Cenez, or something like chapters 25-28 in Pseudo-Philo, have been found by Jacob among the records contained on the plates of brass? The Book of Mormon description of the writings on the brass plates does not exclude this possibility. Those plates contained "an account of the creation of the world . . . And also a record of the Jews from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah" (1 Nephi 5:11-12), and that account was fuller than the biblical account (1 Nephi 13:23). Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities basically fits Lehi's description of the plates of brass. Pseudo-Philo recounts the history of the world and of Israel from the creation down to the time of King David, and it tells several stories not found in the Bible. At a minimum, the Pseudo-Philo is a concrete example showing at least that such an alternative history existed among the Jews. Moreover, this possibility gains some corroboration from a few striking nonbiblical parallels between the affairs of Cenez and historiographic materials also emphasized in the Nephite record.12 These points are not conclusive, but they provide clues that Book of Mormon peoples may have known of an account of Cenez or something much like it.13
Of course, it is not likely that the surviving version of Pseudo-Philo known to the world today is exactly the same as "the account" known to Lehi and his posterity. Scholarly opinion usually dates writing of the Pseudo-Philo to the first century A.D., and this makes it impossible to ascribe the present form of this work to pre-exilic Israelite times. Nevertheless, scholarly opinion does not preclude an association of much of this material with things in the Book of Mormon, for many of the traditions and basic ideas reflected in Pseudo-Philo are older than the time when they were finally written down in their present form.
Moreover, while the extant Latin versions of Pseudo-Philo are obviously late translations from a Greek version of this text, scholars agree that Pseudo-Philo was originally written in Hebrew and in Palestine. Since the Hebrew original does not exist, it is difficult to say much about when it may have been written,14and there is little in Pseudo-Philo to date it contextually. Several of its main features are consistent with the idea that its distant roots reach back into pre-exilic times. For example, its content is unaffected by the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. It is uninfluenced by the priestly code or priestly writers.15 Cohn observes that "Christian elements are entirely absent" here;16 the text "belongs to the oldest specimens of historic Hagada."17 Cohn concludes that "there were ancient legends, which were used by Pseudo-Philo, and also served as the foundation of stories in the Midrash,"18 and that "Pseudo-Philo's version of Jewish history has many roots in the ancient Jewish traditions and legends on which the Hagadah and the Midrash are founded."19 Thus the possibility cannot be ruled out that these traditions existed in some written form in Lehi's day, although this cannot be proved or disproved.
The main passage used by scholars to date Pseudo-Philo to a time shortly after the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70 is Pseudo-Philo 19:7. Here the text discusses the temple of Solomon and prophesies that the temple will be destroyed on the same day of the year on which the tablets of the law had been destroyed by Moses, namely the seventeenth day of Tammuz. But since the fall of Jerusalem in the sixth century B.C came on the ninth of Tamuz (Jeremiah 52:6; 2 Kings 25:3), Cohn concludes that Pseudo-Philo must have gotten confused and mentioned the seventeenth day of Tammuz because he knew it as the fateful day on which the Second Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, a date recorded in the Talmud. This one point is thought to betray the complete work as a late first-century writing.
That reasoning, however, is not very convincing, since Nebuchadnezzar's soldiers could easily have taken eight days to destroy the temple of Solomon. Accordingly, Harrington remains unpersuaded: "Close inspection of this text and the complexities involved in it indicates that the reference could also be to the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus Epiphanes, or Pompey."20 "I remain convinced of the pre-70 C.E. dating."21 Thus, the plates of brass could have contained an account something like that of Pseudo-Philo or perhaps even an early version of this historical account, but there is no certitude here.
What Was Known about Pseudo-Philo in Joseph Smith's Day?
Extremely little, and probably nothing at all, was known about Pseudo-Philo until late in the nineteenth century. Fragments of this work were published in Latin by Montague Rhodes James in 1893. The second fragment was entitled Visio Cenez Patris Gothoniel. In 1917 Rhodes published an English translation. He felt that his fragments and the name Cenez "were new and completely unknown."22 In fact, however, Rhodes's fragments had been published in 1527 in Basel, Switzerland, under the title Philonis Judaei Alexandrini Libri Antiquitatum, but he wrongly ascribed these works to Philo of Alexandria. They subsequently escaped the notice of editors collecting the works of Philo and fell into virtually complete obscurity. So, although parts of this work were published in Latin three hundred years before Joseph Smith began translating the Book of Mormon, they had fallen into oblivion. In 1898, Cohn wrote that the Biblical Antiquities had "attracted scarcely any attention to the present day" and that it was "full time that the Liber antiquitatum biblicarum should again be rescued from its obscurity."23
What, then, can be said of Kenas, Zenez, Zenec, Cenez, Zenoch, Zenock, and Zenos? First, it has been demonstrated that a text with roots in ancient Palestine manifests considerable similarity to Zenos's allegory of the olive tree and to the interpretations and applications given to that allegory by Jacob. Who would have thought, in 1829, that a text like the farewell assembly of Cenez would surface only sixty years after the publication of the Book of Mormon? Given the obscurity of information about Pseudo-Philo prior 1890, the affinities between the allegory of the vineyard in Pseudo-Philo and the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 4-6 are impressive.
The possibility of some indirect relationship between the figure of Cenez in Pseudo-Philo and the prophets Zenos and Zenoch in the Book of Mormon is possible, but no more than a general connection between the Cenez-like material and Jacob 4-6 can be substantiated at the present time. Perhaps they were associates, cousins, or known to each other. The considerations involved in dating Pseudo-Philo do not preclude such possibilities. The Pseudo-Philo is a valuable text shedding light on the religious, cultural, and literary backgrounds of the writing of Israelite history and of the Book of Mormon. Through it in particular, the western mind can more deeply appreciate yet further dimensions of the symbolic values of the olive in Jacob 5.
- Leopold Cohn, "An Apocryphal Work Ascribed to Philo of Alexandria," Jewish Quarterly Review 10 (1898): 307-11. James H. Charlesworth, ed., Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Garden City: Doubleday, 1985), 2:298-99. There also exist Hebrew fragments of a retroversion of Pseudo-Philo found in the Chronicles of Jerahmeel, presented by D. J. Harrington, The Hebrew Fragments of Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum Preserved in the Chronicles of Jerahmeel, Texts and Translations 3, Pseudepigrapha Series 3 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974). For a report of recent developments and bibliography, see Daniel J. Harrington, "A Decade of Research on Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities," Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 2 (1988): 3-12.
- Charlesworth, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2:297-377.
- Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 5.3.3; cf. Joshua 15:17.
- For analyses of farewell speeches in the Bible and in the ancient Mediterranean, see William S. Kurz, Farewell Addresses in the New Testament (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1990), and "Luke 22:14-38 and Greco-Roman and Biblical Farewell Addresses," Journal of Biblical Literature 104 (1985): 251-68. For a study applying Kurz's research to King Benjamin's speech, see "Benjamin's Speech: A Classic Ancient Farewell Address," in John W. Welch, ed., Reexploring the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and F.A.R.M.S., 1992), 120-23. Similarly, Jacob 4-6 can be understood readily as containing most of the elements present in the idealized ancient farewell address.
- Paul also spoke of his allegory of the tame and wild olive tree as a "mystery" and was eager for his Gentile converts to know its meaning so that what had happened to the Jews might not happen to them (Romans 11:25).
- See Harrington's comments in Charlesworth, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha 2:298-300.
- Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, vol. 7 in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and F.A.R.M.S., 1988), 286-90.
- Book of Mormon Critical Text, 3 vols. (Provo: F.A.R.M.S., 1987), 1:115 n970, 3:948 n211.
- Most recently noted by Royal Skousen in "Piecing Together the Original Manuscript," BYU Today 46/3 (May 1992): 22. See also, the spelling of Zenoch the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon for Helaman 8:20, and in the 1879 edition for Alma 34:7. Book of Mormon Critical Text, 2:734 n763, 3:948 n212.
- Guido Kisch, Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, in Notre Dame Publications in Mediaeval Studies 10 (South Bend, Ind.: Notre Dame University Press, 1949), 168, note a.
- Helaman 8:19 specifically indicates that Zenos was slain. Helaman 8:20 does not say how Zenoch died, but Alma 33:17 says that he was stoned to death because he testified of the Son of God.
- For example, Cenez purged Israel of 6110 sinful men in all the tribes and their names were written in books that were burned along with those men; this may compare with the recording of names in Mosiah 6:1 and the burning of people and their books in Ammonihah in Alma 14. Cenez used the Urim and Thummim to "reveal to [the priests] the truth"; he obtained post-judgment confessions from sinners being executed (cf. Nehor in Alma 1:15and Korihor in Alma 30:52-53). The Lord gave Cenez twelve shining stones to keep in the ark of the covenant (Pseudo-Philo 26:9-15; cf. Ether 3:1-4). Cenez was also shown the wonders that God was "ready to do by reason of [the] covenant in the last days."
- In addition, many features of the Cenez account in Pseudo-Philo are common to both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. For example, Cenez was a prophet-judge in Israel, and this became the preferred form of government for Nephite prophet-judges like Alma. The organization of the military in Cenez's account used the conventional "captain of fifty" as the unit commander (27:15; see also Isaiah 3:3; cf. 1 Nephi 3:31; Mosiah 11:19;Mosiah 18:18). Cenez personally wielded a supernaturally powerful sword to single-handedly defeat the Amorites (27:1-12; cf. Omni 1:13; Alma 2:31). Both the sword of Cenez and the sword of Laban were used to kill those who were delivered into the prophet's hands by God. While Cenez won his miraculous victory, a deep sleep came over all the soldiers in the camp of Israel (cf. Mosiah 24:19; Alma 51:33; 1 Samuel 26:12).
- "Since we have to do, not with the original text, but with a translation of a translation of the original, it is naturally difficult to determine with accuracy the period to which the unknown author belonged." Cohn, "An Apocryphal Work Ascribed to Philo of Alexandria," 324.
- Ibid., 291.
- Ibid., 313.
- Ibid., 314.
- Ibid., 315.
- Ibid., 322.
- Charlesworth, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2:299. In addition, the rest of the work may be older, even if that one passage had been changed ex eventu. Accordingly, the assessment of Blake Ostler that Pseudo-Philo "is much too late (c. 135 B.C.)" to be a reliable source relative to the Book of Mormon need not rule out the relevance of the Pseudo-Philo entirely. Blake Ostler, "The Book of Mormon as a Modern Expansion of an Ancient Source," Dialogue 20/1 (Spring 1987): 66-123.
- Harrington, "A Decade of Research," 4.
- Cohn, "An Apocryphal Work Ascribed to Philo of Alexandria," 277.
- Ibid., 278-79.
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