Helaman 16:10 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
and thus ended also the eighty and seventh year of the reign of the judges [& 1| ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST] the more part of the people remaining in their pride and wickedness and the lesser part walking more circumspectly before God

The original manuscript is not extant for most of this verse. The gap between extant fragments is sufficiently large here that one cannot tell if 𝓞 had an ampersand before “the more part”. The 1830 edition has no and, but the printer’s manuscript has the ampersand. One could argue that 𝓞 had the ampersand but that the 1830 typesetter deleted it because he didn’t want to create a sentence fragment. On the other hand, it is possible that 𝓞 did not have an extra and here and that Oliver Cowdery, under the influence of the following “and the lesser part”, accidentally added the and (as an ampersand) when he copied the text from 𝓞 into 𝓟.

There are a number of instances in the original text where a sentence ends with a presentparticipial clause connected to the main clause by an and. Since such usage is nonstandard, these instances have all been edited out of the text:

For the particular editing, which varies from case to case, see under each of these passages.

Helaman 16:10 has an explicit subject for both of its present-participial clauses: “(and) the more part of the people remaining in their pride and wickedness and the lesser part walking more circumspectly before God”. On the other hand, none of the present-participial clauses listed above have an explicit subject. It should also be noted that the 1830 compositor, John Gilbert, did not remove any of the and ’s from the other examples (nor did he otherwise edit them). But the explicit subject in Helaman 16:10 may have made the nonstandard syntax more prominent, which could have then caused Gilbert to remove the seemingly anomalous and.

When we look at Oliver Cowdery’s scribal practice, we find that he occasionally added an extra and, yet in most instances he caught his error. Here are a couple of examples where Oliver initially added an and after a subordinate clause and before the main clause, thus inadvertently creating a Hebrew-like expression (but only momentarily):

In other words, Oliver would sometimes create sentence fragments by accidentally adding an and. So there is some possibility that the and in 𝓟 for Helaman 16:10 could be an error on Oliver’s part. On the other hand, it should be noted that in Alma 49:27 (listed earlier) Oliver Cowdery initially omitted the extra and in both manuscripts:

This means that Oliver’s more specific tendency was actually to remove this kind of and before sentence-final present-participial clauses, not to add it.

In contrast, when we look at the 1830 compositor’s practice, especially in the latter part of his typesetting for the Book of Mormon, we find that he seems to have decided to remove extra and ’s that lead to sentence fragments. In the first three-fourths of the text, he occasionally omitted these and ’s:

The 1830 compositor maintained most instances of the Hebraistic and for the first part of the text, with the result that such and ’s were removed only later in the 1837 edition (see, for instance, the discussion under Helaman 12:13–21). But for the last fourth of the text, the 1830 compositor removed most of these extra and ’s. We have, for example, four instances of what appear to be superfluous and ’s in that portion of 𝓟 where the scribe was the unknown scribe 2 (from 3 Nephi 19:21 through Mormon 9:37). And in each of those cases, the 1830 compositor omitted the extra and. In fact, in one of those cases (marked below with an asterisk), scribe 2 of 𝓟 also omitted the and, but Oliver Cowdery supplied it when he proofed 𝓟 against 𝓞, thus showing that 𝓞 definitely had the unexpected and:

There is not one firm example of scribe 2 of 𝓟 accidentally adding an and, but there are 13 where he accidentally omitted an and, as in the example from 3 Nephi 23:8 listed above.

There are two more instances of the Hebraistic and in the book of Ether. For that portion of the text, not only was Oliver Cowdery once more the scribe in 𝓟 but also the 1830 compositor returned to using 𝓟 as his copytext. And for the book of Ether the compositor continued to remove the extra and ’s:

In this case, he also removed the repeated subject that occurred after a parenthetical interruption:

In this case, as in the two later examples in Ether 15, John Gilbert used his pencil to mark the deletion directly in 𝓟 itself.

Thus the evidence is quite overwhelming that for the last fourth of the text the 1830 compositor was trying to remove these and ’s that lead to sentence fragments. Although the example of the extra and here in Helaman 16:10 is syntactically different from the other cases, it is clearly nonstandard and would have undoubtedly been recognized as such by the compositor. In other words, here in Helaman 16:10 John Gilbert is most likely the one responsible for the textual variation. The critical text will therefore restore the nonstandard use of and, the reading in 𝓟, especially since there are quite a few examples of this kind of present-participial usage in the earliest text (but now all removed from the standard LDS text).

Summary: Restore in Helaman 16:10 the reading in 𝓟 with its extra and before the sentence-final present-participial clause: “and thus ended also the eighty and seventh year of the reign of the judges and the more part of the people remaining in their pride and wickedness and the lesser part walking more circumspectly before God”; the 1830 compositor removed the and, which he would have judged as anomalous; usage elsewhere in the earliest text supports the possibility of extra and ’s before presentparticipial clauses at the ends of sentences.

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part. 5