3 Nephi 4:18–19 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
for it was impossible for the robbers to lay siege sufficiently long to have any effect upon the Nephites because of their much provision which they had laid up in store [& 1| ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOQR|and PS|And T] because of the scantiness of provisions among the robbers for behold they had nothing save it were meat for their subsistence

The printer’s manuscript has an and connecting the two because-of phrases. The 1830 edition is missing this and, but it was restored in the 1908 RLDS edition and in the 1981 LDS edition. Since the greater tendency in the transmission of the text from 𝓞 into 𝓟 was to accidentally omit small words rather than to add them, the original manuscript probably had the ampersand here. More specifically, there are many more examples of the 1830 typesetter omitting and than of Oliver Cowdery adding and; for some statistics, see under 3 Nephi 3:12.

Elsewhere in the original text there are seven examples where the text reads “because of X and because of Y”; six of these are cases of conjoined because-of prepositional phrases (the exception is marked below with an asterisk):

On the other hand, there is one case elsewhere in the text where a conjoined because of lacks a connector:

We should note that there is one other instance of “because of X / because of Y” in the text, but in this case the second because-of prepositional phrase could be interpreted as modifying the first one (that is, the text may be explaining that the source of the Nephites’ pride was their riches):

In general, we expect the and before the conjoined because of here in 3 Nephi 4:19, although the asyndetic case is also possible. Since transmission errors favor the loss of and by the 1830 typesetter, the critical text will maintain the and in this passage.

Summary: Retain the and at the beginning of 3 Nephi 4:19 since elsewhere the text nearly always conjoins because-of prepositional phrases with the conjunction and; in this passage it appears that the 1830 typesetter accidentally omitted the and; the chances are considerably greater for small words to be lost rather than added in the early transmission of the Book of Mormon text.

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