Enos 1:20 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
and their skill was in the bow and [ 1APS|in BCDEFGHIJKLMNOQRT] the scimitar and the ax

The 1837 edition added an in before the second of the conjoined elements in this clause but not before the third, which results in a fairly unusual construction for the Book of Mormon. This extra in appears to be a typo since other lists of weapons (bows, arrows, swords, scimitars, axes, clubs, slings, and stones) are basically invariant with respect to prepositional repetition. In virtually all other instances, the preposition (whether repeated or not) is with. And this preposition can occur before every conjoined noun phrase, as in the following example:

In the current text there are eight more examples like this one.

In three examples we have with occurring before each conjoined noun phrase except for a last noun phrase that generally refers to other kinds of weapons:

Finally, in seven cases, we have the same lack of prepositional repetition that is found in the original text for Enos 1:20—namely, the preposition occurs in front of only the first noun phrase. In all cases but one, the conjunctive structure involves two conjuncts; and in two cases, the preposition is not with but either from or by:

The first example shows that there can be three or more conjuncts for which the preposition appears before only the first conjunct.

There is only one instance of potential irregularity; in this instance, the conjoined phrase “a bow and an arrow” apparently acts as a unit:

In any event, the original structure for Enos 1:20 is consistent with one of the dominant kinds of coordination found in the Book of Mormon text; thus in Enos 1:20 the intrusive, repetitive in will be removed. For further discussion, see conjunctive repetition in volume 3.

Summary: Restore the original reading for Enos 1:20 by deleting the preposition in before “the scimitar”.

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part. 2