1 Nephi 12:1 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
and I looked and beheld [the land 0|the band > NULL 1| ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST] the land of promise

Here in 1 Nephi 12:1, the original manuscript appears to have a dittography. The first occurrence of “the land” is found at the end of the line, then “the land” is repeated at the beginning of the next line:

This particular scribe (scribe 3 of 𝓞) produced two other examples of dittography as he moved from the end of one line to the beginning of the next line. In both these cases, he caught his error and crossed out the initial occurrence (the one at the end of the line):

For 1 Nephi 12:1, Oliver Cowdery initially copied the dittography into 𝓟, then deleted the first one. Apparently, he wrote land as band, but he undoubtedly intended land. In any event, Oliver interpreted “the land the land” in 𝓞 as a dittography that scribe 3 had neglected to correct.

The chances are slight that the repetition in “the land the land of promise” is genuine. Besides the two other cases involving the end of the line (listed above), scribe 3 of 𝓞 often created dittographies, although in all other cases he caught his error:

These examples are all alike: in each case, the same precise words are repeated.

Elsewhere in the text there are no examples of “the land the land”, but there are quite a few cases where land is repeated in an appositive, yet the repetition always includes some difference:

These examples strongly suggest that the unmodified repetition “the land the land” in 1 Nephi 12:1 of 𝓞 is a dittography and that Oliver Cowdery was right to delete the repetition in the printer’s manuscript.

Summary: Accept Oliver Cowdery’s emendation in 1 Nephi 12:1; the extra “the land” is most probably an uncorrected dittography created by scribe 3 of 𝓞, especially since he sometimes created dittographies like this one when ending one line and beginning the next.

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part. 1