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What Command Syntax Tells Us About Book of Mormon Authorship

TitleWhat Command Syntax Tells Us About Book of Mormon Authorship
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCarmack, Stanford
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture
KeywordsGrammar; Syntax

The variety of command syntax found in the Book of Mormon is very different from what is seen in the King James Bible. Yet it is sophisticated and principled, evincing Early Modern English linguistic competence. Interestingly, the syntactic match between the 1829 text and a prominent text from the late 15th century is surprisingly good. All the evidence indicates that Joseph Smith would not have produced the structures found in the text using the King James Bible as a model, nor from his own language. The overall usage profile of command syntax seen in the Book of Mormon strongly supports the view that the Lord revealed specific words to Joseph Smith, not simply ideas.