The King James Bible in the Book of Moses, Part I

Apr 12, 14 The King James Bible in the Book of Moses, Part I

With the recent publication of David Bokovoy’s Authoring the Old Testament: Genesis-Deuteronomy, many have wondered to what extent the Bible has had influence on the Book of Moses. The discussion has mainly revolved around the parts of the text that are obvious revisions of the Genesis creation chapters (Genesis 1, 2-3) that originate from different Israelite sources written centuries after the time of Moses. In response to and in order to make a contribution toward further understanding this topic I will look closely at the full text of the Book of Moses in the original manuscripts (as presented in BYU’s RSC publications) and locate the places of intertextuality. I will present the Book of Moses on a chapter by chapter basis until I arrive at the end, and after this is complete I will offer some thoughts on to what extent the KJV influenced the composition of the Book of Moses. This will take time for each of these posts to come out, and I hope that in the meantime others will utilize the work here to discuss the topic. My approach in these posts is based on my much larger project of locating textual dependence throughout the Book of Mormon on the King James Bible, a manuscript that will be published by Greg Kofford Books.

     My basic approach is that of textual dependence, but the work here includes all forms of intertextuality. Intertextuality refers to the nature of oral and written texts to all “intersect” at given points. Intertextuality itself is an umbrella term for all of these connections. Not every highlighted place found below is textually dependent on the biblical reference in the notes. There are varying degrees of intertextuality, and I will briefly define my criteria for locating these.

  • Formal Quotation (F. Q.): Literary marker that introduces the text and quotes directly from an identifiable source in the KJV.
  • Informal Quotation (I. Q.): No literary marker, but does quote directly from an identifiable source of the KJV of six words or more.
  • Allusion (A.): Section of text that is dependent on an identifiable source in KJV that requires interpretive clues for the Book of Moses passage. Will be dependent on five words or less.
  • Echo (E.): Either intentional or unintentional, is dependent on an identifiable source in the KJV of five words or less. Does not require interpretive clues.
  • Parallel (P.): Dependent on an idea or tradition that comes out of the world of the KJV where there are too many parallels in the KJV to identify a specific identifiable text that the Book of Moses could be taking from.
     Joseph Smith breathed the air of the King James Bible. It was everywhere around him, in publications, in preacher’s sermons (who often utilized the language of the KJV to instill authority in their speech), and in reading and discussing with family at home. Even the Webster’s 1828 dictionary (and his earlier dictionaries) is based on the language of the KJV. Many places of intertextuality will be dependent on the KJV directly, and other places may simply be due to phrases being common to Joseph and his scribes in the setting of the production of holy scripture. The criteria above will help to balance the varying kinds of dependence that we find in the Book of Moses, and is necessary to check the assignment of the verses to a specific kind of relationship. In creating this post, and all future posts on this topic, I am using the publication by Kent P. Jackson, The Book of Moses and the Joseph Smith Translation Manuscripts (Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005).
     It will be noticed, and I feel I can make some preliminary remarks on this before I comment in greater length at the end of this series, that Moses 1 is heavily dependent on Matthew 4 for its presentation of Moses’ meeting and wrestle of words with Satan. In the footnotes I locate the varying kinds of dependence, and, although none are direct quotations, there is a running theme to this section of the text that does go back to Matthew’s version of Jesus’ encounter with Satan in Matthew 4. We can know that it is the gospel of Matthew and not Luke that Moses 1 is dependent on because of phrases not found in Luke’s version, such as “get thee hence Satan.” This is only one place of dependence, and I invite the reader to look closely at the the footnotes and compare the text of Moses 1 with that of the verses I have suggested. Readers can use to check the recurrence of these phrases for themselves and judge my assignments accordingly.
     Some wonder why this kind of study is necessary, and have even said to me that it is a pointless area of research. There are many reasons why I think this is an important aspect of study that needs to be done. (1) Ever since the publication of the Book of Mormon people have pointed out the similarities between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Intertextuality has been an important aspect of studying restoration scripture whether we have been conscious of it or not. (2) Locating similar phraseology and themes has not only been non-exhaustive in Mormon studies up to this point, but in those works that have examined intertextuality have not fully examined the differences found in the source text (hypotext) and the dependent text (hypertext). We need to ask the questions of where in the history of ideas does restoration scripture fit after we have analyzed how the hypotext is used in the hypertext. (3) The study of intertextuality and textual dependence has been plagued by the fear that one will lose their faith if they discover that the New Testament (NT) is used heavily throughout the Book of Mormon, or even texts like the more popular Deutero-Isaiah (Isa. 40-55, written after the Babylonian exile). These fears should be set aside and we should realize the importance of this study in helping us to understand the messages of the Book of Mormon, Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and even the Doctrine and Covenants. No one needs to lose their faith simply due to the fact that these books are dependent on the KJV. (4) The last, but I think still a very important point, is that this kind of approach is still very young in Biblical studies. Exegetes had pointed out for centuries the similarities found between different biblical prophets, but it was only in the 1980’s that strict criteria for locating textual dependence began to be formulated. It has only been within the last ten years that the real fruit of those labors has begun to be seen in biblical studies generally. This is an opportunity for Mormon studies to be current with Biblical studies. I think these points are reason enough that we should turn to the comparative study of intertextuality and textual dependence of Mormon scripture on the Bible.

     My contribution here is not definitive, but preliminary. Criticisms are welcome as this is a work in a progress, and anyone who would like to discuss any issues they see with what I present here are welcome to e-mail me at

See Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here.


The Book of Moses (OT2 Page 1; Moses 1:1-15)[1]


1 The words of God which[2] he spake unto Moses,[3] at a time when[4]

Moses was caught up into an exceeding high mountain,[5] 2 and he saw

God face to face,[6] and he talked with him,[7] and the glory of God[8] was upon

Moses <him>; therefore Moses <he> could endure his presence, 3 and

God spake unto Moses,

saying, Behold I[9] am the Lord[10] God Almighty,[11] and endless is my name

for I am without beginning of days or end of years;[12] and is this not endless.

4 and Behold thou art my Son,[13] Wherefore, look, and I will shew[14] thee the[15]

workmanship of mine hands,[16] but not all;[17] for my works are without

end, and also my words, for they never cease; 5 wherefore, no man can[18]

Behold all my work[19] except he behold all my Glory;[20] and no man can

behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh <on the earth[21]>.

6 and I have a

work for thee, Moses, my Son; and thou art in the[22] similitude to <of>


only begotten;[23] and mine only begotten[24] is and shall be <the Savior>, for

he is full of

grace and truth;[25] but there is none other God beside[26] me;[27] and all

things are present with me, for I know them all. 7 and now Behold

this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my Son; for thou art

in the World, and now I show it thee. 8 And it came to pass, that[28]

Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was Created, and as

Moses beheld the World and the ends thereof and all the Children of

men[29] which was <are> and which was <were> created,[30] of the same he

greatly marveled[31]

and wondered, 9 and the presence of God[32] withdrew from Moses, that

his glory

was not[33] upon Moses <him> and Moses was left unto himself and as he was[34]

left unto himself he fell unto the Earth.[35] 10 And it came to pass

that[36] it was for the space of many hours[37] before Moses <he> did again

Receive his natural strength like unto man and he saith <said> unto himself

Now for this once I know that man is nothing which thing

I never had supposed 11 But now mine eyes[38] mine own eyes <have be-

held God> but not

mine <natural> eyes <but my spiritual>,[39] for mine <natural>

eyes could not have beheld for I should have

withered and died in his presence But his glory was[40] upon me and I

beheld his face for I was transfigured before[41] him. 12 And now it came

<to pass>

that[42] when Moses had[43] said these words[44] Behold satan came[45] tempting

him Saying[46] Moses Son of man worship me[47] 13 And it came to

pass that[48] <but> Moses <lifted up his eyes[49] and> looked upon Satan and

saith <said> Who art thou[50] for

Behold I am a Son of God in the similitude of his only begotten[51]

and where is thy glory that I should worship thee 14 for behold I could

not look upon God except his glory should come upon me and I

were <was> transfigured before him but I can look upon thee in the

natural man! is if not is[52] 15 surely blessed be the name of my God[53]


(OT2 Page 2; Moses 1:15-28)


For his spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me. or else <I say> where

is thy glory for it is blackness unto me and I can Judge between

thee and God[54] for God said unto me,[55] Worship God for him only shalt

thou serve[56] 16 Get thee hence, Satan,[57] deceive me not,[58] for God said

unto me Thou art after the similitude of mine only begotten.[59] 17 and he

also gave unto me commandment, when he called unto me

out of the burning bush,[60] Saying, call upon God,[61] in the name

of mine only begotten,[62] and worship me.[63] 18 And again, Moses saith

<said,> I

will not cease to call upon God,[64] I have other things to inquire

of him for his glory has been upon me and it is glory unto me

wherefore I can Judge betwixt <between> him and thee.[65] Depart hence,


19 And now when Moses had said these words Satan cried with a

loud voice[67] and wrent upon the Earth,[68] and commanded, saying, I am

the only begotten,[69] worship me.[70] 20 And it came to pass that[71] Moses

began to fear exceedingly,[72] and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness

of Hell, Nevertheless, calling upon God[73] he received strength[74]

and he commanded[75] Saying, Depart hence, Satan,[76] for this one God

only will I worship,[77] which is the God of glory.[78] 21 And now Satan

began to tremble, and the Earth shook,[79] and[80]  Moses received[81] strength[82]

<and> called upon God[83] saying in the name of Jesus Christ[84] <his Son

saying to Satan> depart

hence.[85] Satan 22 and it came to pass that[86] Satan cried with a loud

voice[87] with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth,[88] and departed


yea from the presence of Moses[90] that he beheld him not. 23 And

now of this thing Moses bore record but because of wickedness[91]

it is not had among the Children of men.[92] 24 And it came to pass

that[93] when Satan had departed[94] from the presence of Moses[95] he <that

Moses> lifted

up his eyes unto Heaven[96] being filled with the Holy Ghost[97]

which beareth record of the Father and the son;[98] 25 and calling upon the

name of God, he beheld again his glory,[99] for it was <rested> upon him

and he heard a voice, saying,[100] Blessed art thou[101] Moses, for I, the almighty

have chosen thee, And thou shalt be made stronger than the

many Waters, for they shall obey thy command even as if thou

wert God <my commandments>.[102] 26 And lo I am with thee[103] even

unto[104] the end of thy days[105]

for thou shalt deliver my people[106] from bondage,[107] even Israel my

chosen.[108] 27 And it came to pass,[109] as the voice was still speaking, he

cast his eyes[110] and beheld the Earth[111] yea even all[112] the face of it[113]

and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning

it by the spirit of God.[114] 28 and he beheld[115] also the Inhabitants thereof[116]

and there was not a soul which he beheld not, and he discerned them


(OT2 Page 3; Moses 1:28-42)


by the spirit of God,[117] and their numbers were great, even as numberless

as the sand upon the Sea shore.[118] 29 and he beheld many lands

and each land was called Earth,[119] and there were inhabitants on[120] the face


of. 30 And it came to pass that[121] Moses called upon God[122] saying tell


me[123] I pray thee[124] why these things are so and by what <whom> thou madest

them[125] 31 and Behold, the glory of God[126] was upon Moses so[127] that moses


in the[128] presence of God[129] and he talked with him face to face.[130] and the

Lord God said unto Moses,[131] For mine own purpose[132] have I made

these things, here is wisdom,[133] and it remaineth in me, 32 And by the

word of my power, have I created them,[134] which is mine only begotten

Son, who is[135] full of grace and truth.[136] 33 And worlds without number

have I created, and I also created them for mine own purpose,[137] and by

the same I created them,[138] which is mine only begotten,[139] 34 And the first

man of all men have I called Adam,[140] which is many, 35 but

only an account of this Earth, and the inhabitants thereof[141] give I

unto you. For Behold, there are many Worlds which have

passed away by the word of my power,[142] and there are many also

which now stand, and numberless are they unto man; but

all things are numbered unto me. For they are mine and I know

them. 36 And it came to pass that[143] Moses spake unto the Lord

saying,[144] Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, [145] and tell me concerning

this Earth and the inhabitants thereof[146] and also the Heavens and

then thy Servant will be content. 37[147] And the Lord God said

<spake> unto

Moses[148] Saying <of> the Heavens <saying> there <these> are many,

and they cannot be numbered[149]

unto man but they are numbered unto me for they are mine 38 and as

one Earth shall pass away and the Heavens thereof even so shall

another come And there is no end to my works neither my words[150]

39 for Behold this is my work to <and>114 my glory to the <bring to

pass the> immortality and[151]

eternal life[152] of man. 40 And now, Moses, my Son, I will speak unto

you[153] concerning this Earth upon which thou <you> standest, and

thou <you>

shalt <shall> write the things which[154] I shall speak.[155] 41 And in a day when

the children of men shall esteem my words as naught, and take

many of them from the Book which thou <you> shalt <shall> write,

Behold, I

will raise up another like unto thee <you,>[156] and they shall be had again

among the Children of men,[157] Among even as many as shall

believe. [42] These words were[158] spoken[159] unto Moses in the Mount,[160]

the name of which shall not be known[161] among the Children

of men.[162] and now they are also spoken unto you show them

not unto any except them that believe[163] <until I command you> amen

[1] Kent P. Jackson, The Book of Moses and the Joseph Smith Translation Manuscripts (Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005), 57-66.

[2] E. Num. 24:4.

[3] P. The phrase “spake unto Moses” appears in the KJV exactly 111 times (110 OT; 1 NT).

[4] E. Ps. 32:6.

[5] I. Q. Matt. 4:8.

[6] E. Gen. 32:30.

[7] P. The phrase “he talked with him” appears in the KJV exactly 5 times (4 OT; 1 NT).

[8] P. The phrase “the glory of God” appears in the KJV exactly 16 times (2 OT; 14 NT).

[9] Jackson (Ibid., 57) notes (n. 7) that OT1 has “Behold I I” here, whereas OT2 above has only “Behold I.”

[10] I. Q. Ex. 6:2.

[11] P. The phrase “Lord God Almighty” appears in the KJV exactly 5 times, all in the Book of Revelation.

[12] I. Q. Heb. 7:3.

[13] P. The phrase “thou art my Son” appears in the KJV exactly 4 times (1 OT; 3 NT).

[14] Jackson notes (n. 9) that the archaic “shew” is modernized in the Times and Seasons and on the Committee Manuscript of the first RLDS edition of “The Holy Scriptures” (JST). The more original “shew” is kept due to its closeness to the KJV, and the fact that it represents the earliest spelling.

[15] I. Q.(?). Judg. 4:22.

[16] E. Isa. 29:23.

[17] E. John 13:10.

[18] E(?). 1 Cor. 12:3.

[19] OT1 has “works.”

[20] E. Gen. 45:13.

[21] E. The phrase “on the earth” appears in the KJV exactly 35 times (15 OT; 20 NT).

[22] Jackson notes that this is not in OT1 (n. 13).

[23] P. The phrase “only begotten” appears in the KJV exactly 6 times, all in the NT.

[24] P. The phrase “only begotten” appears in the KJV exactly 6 times, all in the NT.

[25] E. John 1:14.

[26] Times and Seasons and 1851 have “besides.”

[27] A. Conflation of Ex. 34:14 and Isa. 43:11.

[28] P. The phrases “and it came to pass that” appears in the KJV exactly 61 times (33 OT; 28 NT).

[29] P. The phrase “the children of men” appears in the KJV exactly 22 times (all OT).

[30] E. Rev. 1:19(?).

[31] E. Matt. 27:14.

[32] P. The phrase “the presence of God” appears in the KJV exactly 4 times (2 OT; 2 NT).

[33] P. The phrase “his glory was not” appears in the KJV exactly 2 times, both in the NT.

[34] P. The phrase “and as he was” appears in the KJV exactly 7 times (3 OT; 4 NT).

[35] E. Rev. 6:13.

[36] P. The phrases “and it came to pass that” appears in the KJV exactly 61 times (33 OT; 28 NT).

[37] P. The phrase “the space of many hours” is similar to other constructs in the KJV (i.e. Gen. 29:14; Lev. 25:8, 30; Jer. 28:11; Luke 22:59; Acts 5:7; 7:42; 13:20, 21; 19:8, 10, 34; 20:31; James 5:17; Rev. 8:1; 14:20).

[38] E. 2 Chron. 7:15.

[39] E. 1 Cor. 15:44, 46.

[40] P. Matt. 6:29; Luke 12:27.

[41] E. Mark 9:2.

[42] P. 2 Chron. 24:11; Jer. 41:13.

[43] P. Deut. 31:24; Heb. 9:19.

[44] P. John 7:9; Acts 28:29.

[45] E(?). Job 1:6; 2:1.

[46] P. Matt. 19:3; 22:35.

[47] P. Matt. 4:9; 15:9; Mark 7:7; Luke 4:7.

[48] P. The phrases “and it came to pass that” appears in the KJV exactly 61 times (33 OT; 28 NT).

[49] P. The phrase “lifted up his eyes” appears in the KJV exactly 20 (16 OT; 4 NT).

[50] P. The phrase “who art thou” appears in the KJV exactly 3 times (1 OT; 2 NT).

[51] P. The phrase “only begotten” appears in the KJV exactly 6 times, all in the NT.

[52] OT1 has “if not so.”

[53] P(?). Matt. 4:9; Luke 4:7.

[54] P(?). Gen. 16:5; 1 Sam. 24:12, 15.

[55] E. 1 Chron. 28:3.

[56] P(E?). Matt. 4:10; Luke 4:8.

[57] E. Matt. 4:10.

[58] E(?). 2 Kgs. 4:28.

[59] P. The phrase “only begotten” appears in the KJV exactly 6 times, all in the NT.

[60] A. Ex. 3:2-4

[61] P. Job 27:10; Ps. 55:16.

[62] I. Q. John 3:18.

[63] E. Matt. 4:9.

[64] E. Job. 27:10 (cf. Ps. 55:16).

[65] P(?). Gen. 16:5; 1 Sam. 24:12, 15.

[66] E. Matt. 4:10.

[67] P. The phrase “cried with a loud voice” appears in the KJV exactly 22 times (8 OT; 14 NT).

[68] P(E?). Josh. 7:6; 1 Sam. 4:12; 2 Sam. 1:2; 15:32 (all Deuteronomic) all have a “rent [article of clothing] and with earth upon his head/fell to the earth upon his face.”

[69] P. The phrase “only begotten” appears in the KJV exactly 6 times, all in the NT.

[70] E. Matt. 4:9.

[71] P. The phrases “and it came to pass that” appears in the KJV exactly 61 times (33 OT; 28 NT).

[72] E. Heb. 12:21.

[73] E. Acts 7:59.

[74] P. Acts 3:7; Heb. 11:11.

[75] P. The phrase “and he commanded” appears in the KJV exactly 18 times (8 OT; 10 NT).

[76] E. Matt. 4:10.

[77] E. Ps. 5:7.

[78] P. Ps. 29:3; Acts 7:2.

[79] P. 2 Sam. 22:8; Ps. 18:7.

[80] As Jackson notes, “Joseph Smith’s revision of the following sentence reads (modern punctuation added): “And Moses received strength and called upon God in the name of his Son, saying to Satan: Depart hence.”

[81] OT1 has “receiving.”

[82] P(E?). Acts 3:7; Heb. 11:11.

[83] E. Ps. 53:4.

[84] P. Acts 2:38; 3:6; 16:18.

[85] E. Matt. 4:10.

[86] P. The phrases “and it came to pass that” appears in the KJV exactly 61 times (33 OT; 28 NT).

[87] P. The phrase “cried with a loud voice” appears in the KJV exactly 22 times (8 OT; 14 NT).

[88] P. The phrase “weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth,” blends both of the variants of the phrase in the NT into one. Each time it appears in the NT it is either “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” (i.e. Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28) or “wailing and gnashing of teeth,” (i.e. Matt. 13:42, 50). In none of these do the two, weeping and wailing, appear together.

[89] E. Matt. 4:11.

[90] E. Ex. 35:20.

[91] P. Deut. 28:20; Jer. 44:3; Hosea 10:15.

[92] P. Ps. 12:1; 21:10.

[93] P. The phrases “and it came to pass that” appears in the KJV exactly 61 times (33 OT; 28 NT).

[94] E. Matt. 4:11.

[95] E. Ex. 35:20.

[96] I. Q. John 17:1.

[97] P. The phrase “filled with the Holy Ghost” appears in the KJV exactly 9 times (all in the NT).

[98] E. 1 Jn. 5:7.

[99] E. John 1:14.

[100] P. Matt. 3:16b-17a; Mark 1:10b-11a.

[101] P. The phrase “blessed art thou” appears in the KJV exactly 5 times (2 OT; 3 NT).

[102] A. Ex. 7:20.

[103] P. The phrase “I am with thee” appears in the KJV exactly 11 times (10 OT; 1 NT); OT1 has “you.” The phrase “I am with you” appears in the KJV exactly 5 times (3 OT; 2 NT).

[104] OT1 has “to.”

[105] E. Dan. 12:13.

[106] E. Ezek. 13:21, 23.

[107] P. The phrase “deliver…from bondage” seems to be alluding to the common OT theme of the Israelites being delivered from the Egyptians “out” of bondage (cf. Ex. 6:6; 13:3, 14; Deut. 5:6; 6:12; 8:14; 13:5,10; Josh. 24:17).

[108] P. Isa. 41:8; 44:1.

[109] P. The phrase “and it came to pass” appears in the KJV exactly 396 times (336 OT; 60 NT).

[110] E. Gen. 39:7.

[111] E. Jer. 4:23.

[112] OT1 has “all all.”

[113] P. The phrase “the face of all the earth” appears in the KJV exactly 16 times (14 OT; 2 NT).

[114] P. The phrase “by the spirit of God” appears in the KJV exactly 4 times (1 OT; 3 NT). Contextually it fits best with Ezek. 11:24.

[115] E. Luke 20:17.

[116] P. The phrase “the inhabitants thereof” appears in the KJV exactly 20 times (all OT).

[117] P. The phrase “by the spirit of God” appears in the KJV exactly 4 times (1 OT; 3 NT). Contextually it fits best with Ezek. 11:24.

[118] P. Gen. 22:17; Josh. 11:4. The verse fits Gen. 22:17 better contextually than Josh. 11:4.

[119] E. Gen. 1:10.

[120] OT1 has “upon.”

[121] P. The phrase “and it came to pass” appears in the KJV exactly 396 times (336 OT; 60 NT).

[122] E. Ps. 53:4.

[123] E. 2 Kgs. 8:4.

[124] P. The phrase “I pray thee” appears in the KJV exactly 158 times (152 OT; 6 NT).

[125] E. Heb. 1:2.

[126] P. The phrase “the glory of God” appears in the KJV exactly 16 times (2 OT; 14 NT).

[127] This is not in OT1.

[128] E. Ex. 32:26.

[129] P. The phrase “the presence of God” appears in the KJV exactly 4 times (2 OT; 2 NT).

[130] E. Deut. 5:4.

[131] P. The phrase “and the Lord said unto Moses” appears in the KJV exactly 51 times throughout Ex. and Deut., but never as “and the Lord God said unto Moses.”

[132] E. 2 Tim. 1:9.

[133] E. Rev. 13:18.

[134] E. John 1:3.

[135] OT1 omits “who is.”

[136] I. Q. John 1:14.

[137] E. 2 Tim. 1:9.

[138] E. John 1:3.

[139] E. John 1:14.

[140] E. 1 Cor. 15:45.

[141] P. The phrase “the inhabitants thereof” appears in the KJV exactly 20 times (all OT).

[142] E. Heb. 1:3.

[143] P. The phrases “and it came to pass that” appears in the KJV exactly 61 times (33 OT; 28 NT).

[144] I. Q. Num. 27:15.

[145] P. The phrase “be merciful unto,” with a human subject, is a common phrase used in the Psalms, although never including “thy servant,” it is usually a singular “me”, and not always including an “O God/Lord” (cf. Ps. 26:11; 41:4, 10; 56:1; 57:1; 67:1; 86:3; 119:58, 132).

[146] P. The phrase “the inhabitants thereof” appears in the KJV exactly 20 times (all OT).

[147] Jackson says, “Joseph Smith’s revision of the following sentence reads (modern punctuation added): “And the Lord God spake unto Moses of the heavens, saying: These are many . . .””

[148] P. The phrase “and the Lord said unto Moses” appears in the KJV exactly 51 times throughout Ex. and Deut., but never as “and the Lord God said unto Moses.”

[149] P. The phrase “cannot be numbered” appears in the KJV exactly 4 times (all OT), but the use of the phrase here fits the context of Jer. 33:22.

[150] P (I. Q.?). Matt. 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33.

[151] OT1 has “the.”

[152] E. Rom. 2:7.

[153] P. Deut. 5:31; Ezek. 2:1.

[154] E. Rev. 1:19.

[155] P. The phrase “I shall speak” appears in the KJV 6 times (5 OT; 1 NT).

[156] P. Deut. 18:15; Acts 7:37.

[157] P. Ps. 12:1; 21:10.

[158] OT1 has “was.”

[159] P. 2 Pet. 3:2; Jude 1:17.

[160] P. The theme of Moses in the mount is found throughout the OT and NT. The phrase used here is closest to the following: Ex. 4:27; 18:5; 24:18; 32:15; 34:4, 29; Lev. 7:38; 25:1; 26:46; 27:34; Num. 3:1; 20:23, 27, 28; Heb. 8:5.

[161] P. The phrase “shall not be known” appears in the KJV exactly 4 times (1 OT; 3 NT).

[162] P. Ps. 12:1; 21:10.

[163] P. The phrase “them that believe” appears in the KJV exactly 10 times (all in NT).

Mr. Thomas is an Engineering graduate student. He lives with his wife and son in Colorado where he is a ward organist.

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  1. Thanks for the runthrough Colby. I’ve only skimmed through the footnotes so far, but if this is the level of detail you’re bringing to your book for Kofford I really can’t wait till your book comes out!

    A side question: in your upcoming book on the use of the KJV in the Book of Mormon are you going to be locating textual dependence of the Apocrypha as well? I’d be curious if there are any such examples of textual dependence… if I remember right the Smith family Bible contained the Apocrypha, though I could be wrong about that.

    I agree with you on point 3, that fears should be set aside in any such study – though such studies will eventually impact religious understandings. In light of the “Book of Mormon wars”, it is curious that more work has not been done on the text of the Book of Mormon, including its reliance on the KJV and the different sources of the Pentateuch. I am confident that your work will be very useful to both those who consider the Book of Mormon inspired scripture and those who consider it a 19th century fraud. From a faithful LDS perspective, I hope it will provoke more discussion on whether or to what extent textual dependence can be viewed as part of a loose conceptual translation a la Gardner, or as part of a modern expansion of an ancient source a la Ostler, as well as impacting our understanding of the nature of Joseph Smith’s “translations” and the nature of revelation.

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  2. Colby Townsend /

    Erik, thank you for the kind comment. I apologize that it took me a few days to respond. This will be the amount of detail that I am putting into According to their Language, so I hope it is enough but not too much to get the job done right.
    I have not yet figured out an effective way to search for the Apocrypha in the text of the Book of Mormon, but if it works out I would like to include that. The majority of the printed King James Bibles at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century had them, but not all of them did. We do not know for sure what printing of the KJV was used in copying down into the BM, but we do know that it was the revised 1769 edition, current in all American printed bibles of the time. The first printed edition of the Bible that we know Joseph had for sure was purchased in October of 1829, after they had turned the manuscript in to Grandin for publication. This 1828 Phinney (the printer) KJV was used later in 1830 as the base text for Joseph Smith’s revision of the KJV (JST). Hopefully a good friend of mine and I will be able to locate a printing or two in the next year that was most likely used, but that is a project all its own.
    I hope that my work is useful to both parties. My book project is mainly collecting data. Data itself does not necessarily mean anything, so any individual researcher can take the data and interpret it according to their research. I, too, was surprised to find out that projects like this one had not already been done. When I started my honors thesis I expected there to be more research on the dependence of the BM on the KJV, but found that it mainly rests with direct quotations of Isaiah, Ex. 20, Mal., Matt. 5-7, and others that are directly pointed out in the text (or at least the headings). I did find a number of critics that had created lists of dependence in the late 90’s that were still online, but as long as their lists were they were not exhaustive, and their lists tended to lean toward finding the New Testament in the BM rather than any and all dependence. So, I started the project because no one else had, and it was necessary for my honors thesis.
    I will be interested in seeing how the work is taken up in the discussion of the “translation” process. I probably shouldn’t say too much right now about my thoughts because I’ll share those more fully in my thesis, but I think the project will go a long way in helping to resolve at least some of the conflicts.

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    • Thanks for the response, I appreciate it. I certainly hope your upcoming book will be mined by scholars on both sides – it may also prove helpful in stimulating further work on the literary themes and narrative structures of the Book of Mormon, in line with previous work done by Grant Hardy, Joe Spencer and Mark Wright. I am personally particularly interested in finding out what portions of the Book of Mormon are less dependent on the KJV than others. I imagine that the war chapters in Alma might be less dependent, for example, though your research could prove me wrong.

      One concern that I might have about your work is accessibility. Have you weighed the pros and cons on whether referencing verses is enough? Perhaps it would be helpful for a wider lay audience to actually quote or at least paraphrase the KJV in the footnotes rather than just a verse reference? Of course that might prove redundant in the case of the Isaiah chapters… and perhaps even require another volume due to added length. I understand if you keep it to a reference work however, that might be the simpler option. It will just take more digging on my side, as a consumer rather than a scholar, to look up all references, though that will probably turn out to be a rewarding journey in itself.

      Also – one final question – are you going to be categorizing and labeling your Pentateuch references into JEPDR, perhaps following Friedman’s division of verses? This would certainly be an added bonus – though I realize that there’s some debate on the margins about which verses are part of which source it would still be useful as an added reference for future research.

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      • Colby Townsend /

        Erik, thank you again. I hope that this research will touch on all aspects of our scriptures and help in all relevant fields of interpretation. It will be interesting to see what places are most dependent, and what places are not as familiar with the language of the KJV as others.
        I have thought about your concerns about accessibility, but interestingly enough the approach I am taking was my answer. There are only two books that are similar to mine that I know of: Armin Lange and Matthias Weigold, Biblical Quotations and Allusions in Second Temple Jewish Literature; and David L. Washburn, A Catalog of Biblical Passages in the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are a number of books that discuss and comment on the use of the Hebrew Bible by the authors of the different texts in the New Testament, but none of them come up with lists the way that Lange, Weigold, and Washburn do. These texts are very difficult to use. Washburn’s is almost impossible to use because he simply provides the volume and page number of the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert (the official Oxford publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls) that the quotation/allusion, etc., can be found. If the researcher does not have those volumes they don’t have the information, and they are not told what column or line the passage is found on.
        Lange and Weigold’s is much better. Each page provides the chapter and verse where each passage can be found in Second Temple Jewish literature, but they never notate if the dependence is quotation or allusion. They provide their methodology and allow the student to assess the material for themselves to determine if it is a quote or an allusion.
        My study not only provides the full text of the Book of Mormon, but highlights the specific words that I am assigning dependence, providing the category of dependence, and often a couple of notes. All this requires of the lay audience (although my work is directed toward LDS/non-LDS scholars and interested lay readers) is to simply open their KJV that they would use on Sunday, or to go to, and compare the two. If I was to add the text in the notes the volume would probably more than double in size, and I really want this to stay in one volume. Like you said, I think it is more rewarding for the interested reader to open the text and see for themselves. The experience itself is well worth the time.
        I have not thought about assigning the different Pentateuchal sources in the Book of Mormon. I will probably leave that to each reader as well. I mostly follow Joel Baden’s assignment of verses, but supplement it with Richard Friedman, Brian Peckham, and a few other studies. I will assign the different sources in the next few posts on the Book of Moses, and of course will discuss the different Pentateuchal sources in my honors thesis.

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  3. Jonathan Cannon
    Jonathan Cannon /

    I find this presentation hard to follow. Perhaps you could use a color coding for the 5 types of intertextuality? I see from the footnotes that most of the ties are Echoes or Parallels, and this would be quickly evident with color coding. Sorry to suggest more work, but I really have no good idea of what to do with the text you presented. Maybe you could also highlight a couple of interesting or significant observations about the passage presented? I know you plan to do that at the end.

    I personally dislike claims like “dependence” without more direct historical evidence of the work being derivative. Maybe that is the jargon of the field, but I find it a poor choice. It is too vague, since you note there are many ways to be dependent. A text can be linguistically derivative (i.e. copying the ways of speaking or writing) without being dependent for content. Also, both texts could be dependent on a common source or common story, without being dependent on each other. Or experiences could be parallel because God interacts with people in similar ways in different times and places, or because both Matthew and Moses expected God to interact with them in the same way–maybe because Matthew was familiar with Moses’s stories. I suspect there are other alternatives. Maybe you will discuss all of this in future posts. ‘Dependent’ is far too ambiguous a word for my taste as a Chemist. If you are going to use a word in a non-standard way, you need to define it carefully every time.

    Now that my criticisms are done, I’m really interested in this, and I want to see where it leads. Looking forward to your analysis.

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    • Colby Townsend /

      Jonathan, thank you for pointing out your concerns. I’ve never been interested in color coding so I think I will leave it as it is. This piece is meant for you to wrestle with. In the future my book will be a little more straightforward because the footnotes will be right there on the page, but you can simply click on the endnote here and it will take you to the bottom. My main reasons for this post, and the upcoming posts I will make (as stated also in the text above), are (1) to present the kind of work here on the Book of Moses that I am currently doing on the Book of Mormon, and (2) to add to the discussion of what kind of “translation” the Book of Moses is. The discussion at the moment revolves around the creation story in the Book of Moses being dependent on the two Israelite sources (J and P) found in the text of the KJV of Genesis.
      Dependence is simple and straightforward, which is why I use it. I don’t know how exactly you use the term in Chemistry, but I use it in the same way scholars do in discussing literary criticism. As you point out, I use the term dependence and define criteria for categorizing each kind of dependence in each example. It simply means here that when the Book of Mormon was written down the King James Bible was available to Joseph Smith and his scribes. This does not require that every place of dependence means straight copying, but rather where there are common phrases and unique verbs between the two Joseph is dependent on the fact that he was swimming in the world of the KJV. Whether it may be phrases that he would have been familiar with in his scriptural tradition (i.e. 1 Ne. 1:14 is dependent on Rev. 15:3 for Lehi’s cry, “Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty,” but this was most likely not straight copying from Rev. 15:3 due to the addition of the “O.” Rather, Joseph was probably used to employing that verse in his religious tradition), or common phrases other Christians would use in their daily life, he was very much dependent on the KJV.
      As far as the Book of Mormon and the Bible having a common source there is, in some sense, a tacit assumption of the opposite of this in the text of the Book of Mormon. Nephi discusses the contents of the brass plates, so the text assumes at least some form of the Old Testament. The problem with assuming and constantly arguing for a common source is highlighted in a recent work by Risto Nurmela. In his book, The Mouth of the Lord has Spoken: Inner-Biblical Allusions in Second and Third Isaiah, he says:

      “One reason why scholars advise restraint in assuming literary interdependence is the possibility of a third unknown source, which might explain the similarity. But since these sources are unknown, this explanation remains even more hypothetical than literary interdependence. Indeed it cannot be ruled out, but when used repeatedly, this argument becomes invalid.”
      -Nurmela, The Mouth of the Lord has Spoken: Inner-Biblical Allusions in Second and Third Isaiah (Lanham: University Press of America, 2006), iii.

      In other words, this is a possibility when dependence is found between texts in a limited number of places, but when two texts line up constantly and consistently, as noted above with the Book of Moses and the KJV, and one of them dates well before the other (KJV) then the argument of a third, common source is invalid. The Book of Mormon is so heavily dependent on the KJV it is extremely difficult to argue for a common source.
      As far as linguistically dependent that is a possibility, but we have to check the probability and likelihood of that happening. In cases like Moses 1, the conceptual framework for the encounter of Jesus and Satan is dependent on Matthew 4. This is highly probable because of the established dependence of the heavy use of the KJV of the creation stories of Genesis in the Book of Moses, and because of the surrounding text here in Moses being dependent on the KJV. You are invited to look again at the footnotes for that.
      Your argument that the experiences could be parallel because God interacts with different people in similar ways is similar to early rabbinic and patristic ways of understanding intertextuality in the scriptures. In the Babylonian Talmud it is said that, “The same communication is revealed to many prophets, yet no two prophets prophecy in the identical phraseology” (B. Sanh. 89a, The Hebrew-English Edition of the Babylonian Talmud [ed. I. Epstein; Surrey: Soncino, 1948]). Theophilus, an early Christian father, also said that the prophets had been “given utterance through one and the same spirit” (Theophilus of Antioch, Theophilus to Antolycus 2.35, in A. Roberts and J. Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers II. Fathers of the Second Century (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), 94-121.
      These explanations are not viable when the entire biblical corpus is taken into account. First, it is very rare for the same experience to happen to multiple individuals throughout the course of the stories of the bible. In specific books there are “type scenes,” but these are limited and do not fully extend throughout the different parts of the bible. Scholars see the portrayal of Jesus in Matthew as based on the figure of Moses in the Old Testament, but this is unique to the gospel of Matthew. Second, Moses did not write the Pentateuch. The earliest parts of the five books of Moses can be dated to around the 9th-8th centuries BCE, and each of the sections of the text (whether you follow the Documentary Hypothesis or the fragmentary or supplementary hypotheses) were written at much later times, often in response to the earlier versions of the five books.
      I hope that this helps clarify some of the points. If there is anything that is unclear feel free to ask, but this series of posts is not yet meant to provide answers. I may give little pointers here and there as I did with pointing out the dependence on Matthew 4, but it is primarily devoted to gathering the data so that anyone can study the similarities and come to their own conclusions.

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  4. Patrick Seegmiller /

    This is freakin awesome! I am uber stoked for the next installment, and WAY more so for the book. Any word on a release date?

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    • Colby Townsend /

      Thanks again Patrick. There isn’t a release date yet. I’m not taking any classes this summer so that I can push through it. I’m hoping that it will be out early next year (fingers crossed).

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  5. Richard /

    One thing I believe missing from your comparative research is the identity of the deity who is speaking with these different passages in different books . And then a comparative analysis of these deity from various sources as to that identity . In the doctrine of Trinity , this isn’t as obvious , but with LDS doctrine , I think a comprehensive pattern of deity identity may prove contradictory in several places .

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    • Colby Townsend /


      Thank you for bringing this up. Although this is an interesting area of research, at this point of the comparison this has nothing to do with identifying speaker. You’ll notice in the notes I provide that it is simply comparing lexical links between the texts; an actual analysis of those links will be done later.
      Even with that said, there are a couple of difficulties with the comparison that you ask for. First, the text of Moses and the text of the KJV Gen are clear as to the identity of the speaker. Second, there is no doctrine of Trinity in Genesis (it is a Jewish text; and I’m not aware of any text in the New Testament that is Trinitarian either, but that’s another conversation), and the text of Moses is clear that it is always the Father speaking. He points back to his “only begotten” often throughout Moses.
      Comparing the Christian doctrine of the Trinity with that of the Book of Moses would only be fruitful when the text meets up with the New Testament, never the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Scholars generally only recognize 1 John 5: 7-8 as being Trinitarian in the New Testament, but they universally recognize that as a very late addition to the text (it was never original to the composition of 1 John). This would make a comparison of the doctrine of the Trinity with that of Moses almost impossible unless you were doing it on a purely comparative theological approach. I am not doing that here, although it might be fruitful for others (such as yourself?) to do that in the future.

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  6. My questions are more basic

    What is a “Literary marker “?

    Since you can’t highlight in color on the blog, it would be cool if in the bracketed footnotes, you could include the initials for type of intertrctuality ( ie F.Q)

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    • Colby Townsend /

      Hey Michael,

      Thanks for your comment and questions. A literary marker is a common term used by scholars discussing intertextuality and textual dependence that describes a phrase that “marks” or “points” the reader to another text. A good example of this is 1 Ne. 22:15, where the text formally quotes (F. Q.) Mal. 4:1. 1 Ne. 22:15 is dependent on Mal. 4:1 for 32 words, and uses the formula “For behold, saith the prophet…” This phrase is an example of a “literary marker” I discussed in the definition above. I apologize that I didn’t make that more clear.
      I’m not exactly sure what you mean by your last line. In each of the footnotes I have provided whether the relationship between the text of Moses and the Bible is a F.Q., I.Q., A., E., or P. Is that what you mean, or was it something else?

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      • Thanks for clarifying.

        Regarding you last question, ya, the footnote at the bottom has the relationships (F.Q., etc). What I’m saying, it would help me if these markers where in the text itself so I could quickly see, without having to scroll down, how these different relationships were woven into the new texts.

        Now for your book, this can easily be done by having different colors for the highlighted stuff and then the footnote at the bottom to give greater detail; kind of like the “Sources Revealed” Bible.

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