“The Anti–christ Name Was Korihor”

Brant Gardner

Culture: Sorenson suggests that “Korihor” is a Jaredite name. Thus, Korihor would presumably be a possible descendant of the Mulekites who sojourned in Jaredite territories. Nibley, however, suggests an Egyptian origin:

This is the Memphite Theology or the Shabako Stone. I think it was Breasted’s greatest achievement to discover the importance of this. If you want to know about it, read Breasted’s book called The Origins of Religion (of course, it’s long out of date now; 1912). I say this is the oldest book in the world, and what a religious document it is. Do you expect this to be primitive mumbo jumbo, a lot of hocus pocus, wonders, and miracles, etc.? Ah, just wait. Shabako was the third king of the twenty-fifth dynasty. Interesting relationships to the Book of Mormon here. His name means “wild cat,” and he came to the throne about 716 B.C. You say this is the oldest in the world. Ah, just wait. The twenty-fifth dynasty was founded by Kashta, and then his son was Piankhi. It’s very funny. The twenty-first dynasty was founded by a person called Korihor whose son was Piankhi. That’s a very funny name; you don’t invent a thing like that. It wasn’t discovered until the 1870s that Piankhi is a name that we have in the Book of Mormon. Korihor was a priest of Amon who usurped the power of the state. His son Piankhi became king.

If Korihor is an Egyptian name, he might still be of Mulekite descent, but the method of transmitting the name would have to be different from Sorenson’s hypothesis. There is little reason to suggest the Israel’s royal house would preserve an Egyptian name, Mulek being a son of a king, though a puppet king. Perhaps the name came through servants accompanying Mulek.

The other transmission possibility comes through Lehi, a more appealing possibility since “Nephi” may be an Egyptian word. (See commentary accompanying 1 Nephi 1:2–3.) With one Egyptian-related name, another in the same family would not be too surprising. Another intriguing possibility is that he was a Nephite-become-Lamanite on a mission to the Nephites. (See commentary accompanying Alma 30:23, 32–34.)

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4