Alan C. Miner

According to Angela Crowell, Moroni, who wrote in the Book of Mormon about A.D. 400, tells us that the book's authors wrote in reformed Egyptian; but if the plates had been large enough, they would have written them in Hebrew to eliminate imperfections in the record (Mormon 8:32-33). Nephi also wrote at the beginning of the small plates that his record consisted of "the learning of the Jews" (1 Nephi 1:2). . . . Thus, it is not surprising that we find Hebrew idioms and syntax (i.e., the way words are put together to form phrases, clauses or sentences) in the English translation. . . . Mere copying of the words and style of the King James Version of the Bible would not produce the vast number of Hebraisms used correctly in the Book of Mormon. . . . Joseph Smith did not study Hebrew until 1835. The Book of Mormon was published in 1830, five years prior to his study of Hebrew. . . .

In Biblical Hebrew, when two nouns are joined together to form one thought, which either expresses possession or description, the word "of" is used to join the two nouns. This is called the construct state . . . In Hebrew a quality or attribute of a person or thing is often found in the construct form. A good example is found in Alma 3:13, "for they [the Amlicites] also had a mark set upon them . . . yea, even a mark of red upon their foreheads." [Angela M. Crowell, "Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon," in Recent Book of Mormon Developments, Vol. 2, p. 6]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary