“A Cry of War Heard Throughout the Land”

Brant Gardner

After a relative time of peace, war again comes to the Nephite polity.

Chronology: The eleventh year of the reign of the judges would be approximately 82 BC.

Textual: Mormon uses different types of sources for his compilation, but it is fairly clear that one of the major types that he is using at this time is an official historical record. We may notice that we are beginning to get a much more accurate picture of time that we have had in the past. While past events were categorized by years, we are now beginning to get events dated to a precise day.

It is quite likely that the Nephites named the months rather than referring to them by their number. Both the Israelite tradition from which they came and the Mesoamerican tradition they entered named the months. We do not know why Joseph left the month names untranslated, and referred to them by number only. However, the form of the dating system we have would be at home in the Mesoamerican calendar that was apparently developing around this time. Mesoamerican calendrics allow for days and months that repeat, and larger counts that also repeat. In the long count dates, there was also a count from an origin date. While the specifics of the Maya long count calendar are different from what we see in the Book of Mormon, the general outline is parallel.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon